NEW BERLIN – Regardless of the outcome of Monday’s elimination bracket final against Danville, Mifflinburg’s Junior Division All-Star team was just going to have fun no matter what.
“We came (Monday), and we were just going to have fun, and let it fly,” said Mifflinburg manager Glenn Miller.
And Mifflinburg’s All-Stars did just that.
Mifflinburg scored six runs in the fourth inning to take an 11-1, five-inning victory over Danville at New Berlin Recreation Park.
Now the team will face Selinsgrove in the District 13 championship game at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday. Mifflinburg lost to Selinsgrove by a 3-1 score on July 1.
“I think this was our best game (of the tournament). We had two games in a row where we didn’t hit a whole lot,” said Mifflinburg’s manager. “We just wanted to keep putting runners in scoring position and we knew we were going to crack through, and that’s usually how it goes.
“Once you put one through, hits are contagious. And that’s what happened tonight,” added Miller.
An RBI double by Ethan Shoemaker led to a two-run first inning for Mifflinburg. Shoemaker’s hit plated Jarrett Miller, who led off with a walk, before Shoemaker later scored on a wild pitch.
A sacrifice fly from Danville’s Bronson Krainak in the bottom of the first cut Mifflinburg’s lead in half, and it seemed like a back-and-forth affair would transpire.
But that wouldn’t be the case.
A lot of small ball in the second inning helped get Mifflinburg a 3-1 lead when Gage Ritter scored on a stolen base by Zeb Hufnagle.
Mifflinburg used eight walks through the first two innings to take a two-run lead, and that patience would play more dividends later.
“We had good at-bats. The last couple of games we were up there to hit, but we weren’t going to force things, either,” said manager Miller, whose team drew 13 walks on Monday. “Friday night (in a 10-6 win over Berwick) we walked a lot, but we still didn’t hit the ball. We scored 10 runs in that game, but I think they walked us 17 times.”
An RBI double by Jarrett Miller and an RBI single by Shoemaker gave Mifflinburg a 5-1 lead in the third.
And in the fourth, Mifflinburg scored six runs, with a two-out, two-run double by Shoemaker being the big blow.
An infield RBI single by Cyruss Sholvin and an RBI single by Hufnagle also came in the fourth, along with an RBI fielder’s choice by Nate Chambers and a wild pitch scored on by Lane Hook.
Shoemaker finished with a 3-for-3 day that included a walk, four RBI and two runs scored.
“I just waited back, got my pitch and just drove it. We needed to hit, we needed to communicate and we needed to have fun,” said Shoemaker, who is anxious to get another crack at Selinsgrove.
“We were really confident (coming in). We had a practice (Sunday night), and we were looking good.”
“Shoemaker there, with two outs, we had runners on first and second and he rips the ball down the right field line and we score two there,” said manager Miller. “(Monday), when we got walked we made it hurt. We came up big, and we cashed (the walks) in for runs tonight, for sure.”
But since losing to Selinsgrove last week, Mifflinburg has scored 31 runs in its last three games to go into Wednesday’s rematch a different team.
“It’s going to be tough. Selinsgrove is a tough team. We are just going to control what we can control, play them good and take this momentum into Wednesday,” said manager Miller. “Selinsgrove will be ready to play. They are undefeated for a reason.”
District 13 Tournament
At New Berlin Recreation Park
Danville 1 (5 innings)
Mifflinburg 212 60 – 11-6-1
Danville 100 00 – 1-3-4
Jarrett Miller, Lane Hook (2), Ethan Shoemaker (5) and Shoemaker, Miller (3). Conner Kipple, Colton McNeal (2), Zach Whapham (4) and Troy James.
WP: Hook. LP: McNeal.
Mifflinburg hitters: Miller, double, 2 walks, 3 runs scored, RBI; Shoemaker, 3-for-3, double, walk, 4 RBI, 2 runs; Zeb Hufnagle, single, RBI; Lucas Kurtz, walk, run; Hook, 4 walks, run; Nate Chambers, 2 walks, RBI; Aaron Bolick, walk, HBP, 2 runs; Gage Ritter, walk, run; Cyruss Sholvin, single, walk, RBI, run.
Danville hitters: James, doube, HBP, run scored; McNeal, walk; Bronson Krainak, sacrifice fly RBI; Kipple, single; Ryan Roney, single; Tyler Brown, walk.