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Brothers in Blue: Following district final loss, Daniel Boone gears up for state run

READING >> The Daniel Boone baseball team has been all-in since day one.

And for the Blazers, that day didn’t come this past April.

It didn’t even come during the winter season workouts, either.

No, that day came way before then.

A team that’s been molded together since its earliest days on the baseball diamond, Daniel Boone had formed a special bond before several members had even stepped into the high school ranks.

“Some of us have been together since tee ball,” senior shortstop Joey Moyer said Thursday.

All that time, devotion and unity culminated into a District 3-5A Championship berth, where the Blazers fell to Cedar Cliff 3-2 at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Daniel Boone’s Ty Esenwein (29) celebrates with Devon Garner after scoring on Robert Kurtz’ single during the fourth inning of Thursday’s District 3-5A Championship. (Thomas Nash – Digital First Media)

The Blazers were held to just four hits and a walk by Cedar Cliff right-hander Trey Long, who kept Boone off-balance throughout.

“It’s disappointing, no doubt,” Moyer said afterward, “but there isn’t a group I’d rather be here with. Our team’s got such a strong bond, we had every right being here.”

Such a strong bond, that fellow senior, catcher Brendan Rivoli even described it as a brotherhood.

“We’ve been a family ever since the start, ever since we became a team,” he said. “We decided we’d stick through and push together no matter what. These are the kids I’ve been playing with the past nine or 10 years — so we’re all stuck together.”

One would be hard-pressed not to notice each member of the Blazers’ dedication.

Take a look at almost any member of the Blazers’ hair. Just about every team member — sans a small amount — recently added blonde streaks prior to their postseason run.

Daniel Boone starter Zach Brightbill delivers to the plate during Thursday’s District Three Class 5A Championship game. (Thomas Nash – Digital First Media)

Scroll through any member of the Blazers’ Twitter pages. It’s all but guaranteed they’ll have a reference to Boone baseball.

Put an ear into the Boone dugout. You can bet you’ll hear some chatter and some references to their days of old.

Boasting a roster of five starting, experienced seniors — seven in total — the Blazers’ run was certainly foreseeable even since the earliest days.

Even amid all the disappointing years, the handful of seasons where Boone fell just a game shy of the state playoffs, the Blazers continued to persevere.

That said, it certainly takes a special team to play its way through districts and into states. So special, that it hasn’t been done in Birdsboro since the 1997 season. Daniel Boone will kick off its PIAA Class 5A playoff run against District 11 champion Whitehall on Monday, June 5.

“We’ve got a whole other season ahead of us,” said Moyer, referencing the state playoffs. “Obviously this (loss) is a tough one, but we’ve still got plenty to look ahead to.”

Head coach Jason McCord, who ranked it among the happiest moments of his life when the Blazers punched their ticket to states, echoed similar statements. The focus now is to move on.

“When we come back again, it’s the start of a new season,” said McCord. “Everybody goes into the state tournament 0-0. If you can get hot and play well, you’ve got a shot to win that one.

“The thing that’s hardest for us is we realize that, no matter what, the season maximum is four more games. Then that’s it. That’s hard to swallow. I don’t think anyone is ready for this season to be over.”

Might as well make the most of it.

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