One-Hit Won­der

Hohlfeld flirts with no-hit­ter, pitches Boy­er­town past Methac­ton in sec­ond round of dis­tricts

The Community Connection - - SPORTS - By Thomas Nash tnash@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Thomas_Nash10 on Twit­ter

BOY­ER­TOWN » Six times on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, Boy­er­town start­ing pitcher Mike Hohlfeld slowly walked from the mound to the dugout with his head down, mak­ing sure not to step on the third base line along the way.

Then on his sev­enth and fi­nal trip back to the dugout, he clapped his right hand into his glove be­fore toss­ing it into the grass and let­ting out a smile as he joined his team­mates in the hand­shake line along third base.

Hohlfeld car­ried a no-hit pitch­ing ef­fort into the sev­enth in­ning — only to have it bro­ken up with one out in the frame — as Boy­er­town topped Methac­ton 3-0 in the sec­ond round of the District 1 Class 6A play­offs at Bear Sta­dium.

“I don’t re­ally show emo­tions much when I’m out there on the mound,” said the cool and calm righthander af­ter the game. “For me it’s just about stay­ing calm. I knew I had a no­hit­ter go­ing — I looked out at the score­board a cou­ple times, but I was try­ing not to think about it too much.”

Hohlfeld was mas­ter­ful, bal­anc­ing his fast­ball with his curve while strik­ing out seven and walk­ing three in the com­plete-game ef­fort. The lone hit he al­lowed — a bloop sin­gle by Jor­dan Lukas with one out and a man on in the sev­enth — dropped into no-man’s land be­tween the sec­ond base­man and right-fielder.

“I saw that hit land and I thought to my­self, ‘Well, that just hap­pened,’” re­called Hohlfeld. “So my fo­cus then be­came just fin­ish­ing the game.”

He got some im­me­di­ate help from the de­fense be­hind him.

On the next at-bat, Methac­ton short­stop Josh Du­bost hit a flare on the first pitch he saw into shal­low cen­ter where a charg­ing Austyn Le­ven­good sprawled out to make a div­ing catch. The cen­ter fielder then jumped up and fired it to sec­ond base where he nearly caught the run­ner on his way back to the bag.

“That was huge. If he dives and misses that’s prob­a­bly at least a sin­gle, maybe a dou­ble,” said Hohlfeld. “A run­ner would have scored and they’d have all the mo­men­tum in the world.”

With the win, No. 8 Boy­er­town (17-5 over­all) ad­vances to the quar­ter­fi­nal round and is a win away from re­turn­ing to the PIAA Class 6A play­offs. The Bears will get a home game on Fri­day against No. 16 Con­estoga — a shock­ing 2-1 win­ner over top-seeded North Penn — on Fri­day af­ter­noon.

Methac­ton’s run comes to a close at 15-6 over­all, the No. 9-seeded War­riors’ sea­son end­ing with a district loss against a Pioneer Ath­letic Con­fer­ence op­po­nent for the sec­ond straight year.

On a day where Methac­ton pitcher Zack Grif­fin was equally dom­i­nant to his coun­ter­part, it was the War­riors’ bats that wouldn’t come through.

“It’s un­for­tu­nate to end it this way,” said Methac­ton man­ager Paul Spiewak, not­ing that the War­riors hadn’t hit well in ei­ther of their two games prior to Wed­nes­day, which in­cluded a 3-1 loss against Phoenixville in the PAC play­offs. “You go through spurts in your lineup where you have guys that are strug­gling ... but we just went through two weeks where we were strug­gling all the way through. We re­ally cooled of­fen­sively at the ab­so­lute worst time.”

De­spite his team be­ing no-hit through the first six in­nings, Grif­fin kept the War­riors in it. He brought a one-hit­ter into the sixth in­ning, though that one hit proved to be a key poke from Boy­er­town’s Shayn Hor­rocks for an RBI in the bot­tom of the sec­ond in­ning. Af­ter run­ning into some trou­ble in the sixth, Grif­fin was tagged for three runs (two earned) on three hits and three walks in 5-2/3 in­nings of work.

“It’s a shame be­cause our pitch­ers — not just the last cou­ple of weeks, but all sea­son — have done noth­ing but give us chances to win games,” said Spiewak. “That’s all you can ask. It wasn’t lack of ef­fort, it wasn’t lack of an ap­proach, it wasn’t lack of fo­cus. It was all phys­i­cal. And as a coach, I can live with that.”

Boy­er­town added some in­surance in the bot­tom of the sixth when Le­ven­good reached on a sin­gle to right then even­tu­ally came in to score on an in­field er­ror off the bat of Jake DiCe­sare. Hor­rocks then drove in his sec­ond RBI on a sin­gle to left scor­ing Hunter Ewing from third base to make it 3-0.

For a few brief mo­ments fol­low­ing the win, Boy­er­town man­ager Todd Moyer found him­self think­ing about North Penn, the team that ended the Bears’ district runs in two of the last three sea­sons.

“I was out here on the field rak­ing dirt,” said Moyer. “Some­how the kids had the score loaded up and they were say­ing that Con­estoga was lead­ing. Then a few min­utes later, (Mitchell) Peers yelled ‘Coach, it’s over! We’ve got a home game.’ We didn’t even have the field done yet and they al­ready knew.

“I told them be­fore the game, it doesn’t mat­ter where we go or what we’re do­ing. We’ve got to win here then take care of busi­ness wher­ever we go. It doesn’t mat­ter where we are or who we’re up against.”

THOMAS NASH - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Boy­er­town short­stop Quinn Ma­son leaps to try and turn a dou­ble play dur­ing the fourth in­ning of Wed­nes­day’s game. Methac­ton’s Perry Corda (33) was out on the play but Kevin Traf­ford was safe at first.

THOMAS NASH - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Boy­er­town’s Mike Hohlfeld de­liv­ers to the plate dur­ing the first in­ning of Wed­nes­day’s District 1 play­off game against Methac­ton.

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