MUHLENBERG >> One inning proved the undoing of the Daniel Boone Blazers in the BCIAA baseball quarterfinals Thursday night at Muhlenberg High School.
Wilson scored four runs in the top of the sixth inning to break open a tight ballgame and send fourth-seeded Boone packing, 6-1. The win avenged a 6-4 loss to Blazers just three days earlier in Birdsboro.
The No. 5 seed Bulldogs will take on the top-seeded Governor Mifflin Mustangs in the Berks League semifinals Monday at First Energy Stadium. Fleetwood — 7-4 winners in eight innings over Berks Catholic — will face Twin Valley in the other semifinal.
Wilson led 2-1 in the sixth when it batted around and scored those four runs on just three base hits. The culprit was the three consecutive walks issued by starter Zach Brightbill and reliever Matt Henderson.
Brightbill had, for the most part, matched Wilson starter Collin Foster through five frames. The sixth severed what had been a superb pitching duel.
“It was two guys who really pitched their butts off,” Boone head coach Jason McCord said. “Hats off to Collin. I thought he did everything he needed to do to help them win. I thought he threw a heckuva game. He was exponentially better than the first time we saw him. His velo (velocity) was up, he had better secondary stuff.
“We couldn’t stay on top. He worked the top of the zone and it was hard for us, because early on we were getting some top zone called on us, but then later stuff low in the zone. … First three innings, we didn’t have a single ball on the ground. Everything was in the air.”
Brightbill tired in the sixth, allowing a pair of singles and two walks, as his pitch count crossed 90, to make it 3-1 before being relieved by Henderson. The young reliever came into a bases-loaded situation with no room for error but could not slidestep it, walking in a fourth Wilson run before giving up a two-run single to Dalton Emerich to right field.
“Zach was tired, getting up in his pitch count a bit, and next thing you know they get a big hit and the games changes on ya,” McCord said.
The Blazers fell behind 1-0 in the top of the first, when Brightbill gave up four hits but only surrendered one run. An overrun at third base and as resulting 9-4-5 out on a base hit to right kept the score down when Foster helped himself with an RBI single as the next batter in the sequence.
Wilson made it 2-0 in the fifth without the benefit of a hit. Jaden Himmelreich reached on an error, went to third on another error (a bad pickoff throw by Brightbill that sailed into center field), then scored on a an attempted suicide squeeze despite it being sniffed out by Boone. Himmelreich scampered back to third, but crossed home plate safely when the rundown throw to third sailed wide of the bag.
Boone sliced it to 2-1 in the bottom half on a sacrifice fly to center off the bat of pinch hitter Brett Goodrich for its only run of the game.
The Blazers thought they had tied it later in the frame on a sizzler to third that appeared to hit off the fielder. But the home plate umpire ruled the ball foul and the apparent tying run, which would have been scored by Ty Eisenwein, came off the board.