READING>> Barely 24 hours after clinching a spot in the District 3 6A championship game with a semifinal win over Warwick in Ephrata, the Governor Mifflin Mustangs appeared primed to hoist a championship trophy on the turf at FirstEnergy Stadium Thursday night.
Those hopes disintegrated faster than a baseball with popped seams.
York-Adams entrant Dallastown scored eight runs in the top of the third inning and rode the outburst to an 11-1 victory in six innings, in the inaugural 6A title game, spoiling Mifflin’s party for the second year running.
The Berks outfit fell in last season’s 4A title tilt to Ephrata under the old four-classification format. Dallastown (20-4) won its first-ever District 3 crown Thursday while leaving the Mustangs still searching for their first.
“We definitely didn’t help ourselves today,” Mifflin head coach Chris Hole said. “We let a few guys get on base through walks, through errors. But just a lot of credit to (Dallastown). They hit the ball extremely well, they put a lot of pressure on us. They played a great game and that’s really what the storyline is.”
Thursday night’s result was spawned from a 12-batter, eight-run third the Wildcats sprung on Mifflin and starter Joe Adametz, who had escaped a first-inning, bases-loaded jam. No such luck second time through.
Four singles, a wild pitch, two walks, an infield error and a two-run double contributed to what turned into a mess of frame for the Mustangs, who never really recovered from the onslaught.
“It was one bad inning that allowed them to jump out, and that shuts down what we can do offensively,” Hole said. “When they put up that eight-spot, that’s hard to come back from against any team, let alone a team that’s as good as they are.”
Adametz did not survive the frame. He gave way to Arias Ocha, who likewise could not stymie some very hot York County bats.
At the opposite end, Dallastown starter Alex Weakland stifled Mifflin’s potent lineup to the tune of two hits. Weakland conceded a first-inning run on a sacrifice fly but was otherwise brilliant, yielding just one hit — a lead-off third inning single — the rest of the way.
“The kid flat-out competes,” second-year Dallastown skipper Greg Kinneman said. “He just makes pitches. (Bryant) Holtzapple calls a great game behind the plate. There aren’t many catchers in Pennsylvania calling their own game but he does. And the biggest thing about Alex is, the longer the game goes on, the better he gets.
“There’s some great kids, some great families here and I knew this when I came in last year. … This is a testament to them.”
Mifflin’s disappointing night has not doused the Mustangs’ season. By virtue of qualifying for the D-3 title game on Wednesday, the Mustangs (18-7) clinched a PIAA berth in the process. The state playoffs start Monday.
It is not a ton of time to erase the letdown, but that’s Hole’s focus now. It has to be.
“It’s almost the same scenario that we had in the (Berks) county tournament,” Hole said. “We had a tough, disappointing loss there. You just have to rely on your seniors to have the group get refocused, have some good practices.
“And we still have something to play for. We’ve gotten to states three years in a row now but we have yet to win a state game. So that’s a big goal we have and I know we’ll be ready to go on Monday.”
District 3 6A championship game
at FirstEnergy Stadium, Reading
Dallastown 11, Governor Mifflin 1 (6 inn.)
Dallastown – 0 0 8 0 0 3 — 11 11 2
Governor Mifflin — 1 0 0 0 0 0 — 1 2 1
WP: Alex Weakland LP: Joe Adametz
2B: D, Tye Golden
3B: D, Zach Ness