BOYERTOWN – Pennsbury junior Kyle Dear may not have been in the starting lineup on opening day, but he certainly proved he belonged in the Falcons’ 12-0 semifinal win over District 11 champion Bethlehem Liberty.
The first baseman pushed the winning run across with a ground ball in the second inning and, with the sacks jammed in the third, smacked a two-run single to the gap in right-centerfield as part of a nine-run explosion by Pennsbury.
“In the beginning of the year, I wasn’t in the lineup but I believed that if I got my shot, I’d take advantage of it,” said Dear. “It’s been that way for everyone this year; once you get your chance, everyone’s producing.”
Everyone certainly contributed to the five-inning win over Liberty yesterday (June 12) at Boyertown High School’s Bears Stadium.
With the Falcons already on top 1-0 after two frames, Pennsbury sent 13 batters to the plate and strung together seven consecutive singles including run-scoring hits by designated hitter Dave Murphy, shortstop Ryan McCarty, catcher Josh Tesarck, leadoff hitter Tyrone Hodges Jr. and Dear.
Three more runs crossed the plate in the inning on balls put into play by centerfielder Vaughn Ward and pitcher Billy Bethel. With runners at the corners in the fourth, the Falcons pushed the score to 12-0 on Ward’s single to right field.
A 12-run margin is big for any baseball team, though maybe even more significant for Pennsbury, which won four district playoff games by a total of seven runs on its way to its first D1 championship in 24 years. In their first two state playoff wins over D11 runner-up Parkland and D1 fourth-place finisher Perkiomen Valley, the Falcons won by a 5-1 margin – combined.
“We were due for big offensive outbreak,” added Dear. “A lot of our games lately have been one-run wins, two-run wins, late in the game. It was our day to explode, offensively.”
In his last at-bat in the fourth inning, Dear reached base and scored his second run of the day on yet another error made by the Hurricanes, who committed four fielding miscues in the contest.
“Once we got that first run, then came out and shut them down again in the second inning, it seemed like they folded a little bit,” said Dear. “Once we started getting runners on and continuously getting them around the bases, it seemed liked they lost it a little bit, defensively.”
Dear likes Pennsbury’s chances in Friday’s PIAA final at Penn State against District 3 champion Dallastown, a 6-1 winner over D6 champ State College.
“I believe we’re the best team in the state; we all believe we’re the best team in the state,” stated Dear.
The Falcons felt they were on the cusp of a special season, even before the first pitch, the infielder noted.
“At the beginning of the season, we knew we could do something special this year. We had a running joke in winter workouts about getting rings this season.
“We’re seven innings away from making that dream a reality.”
Two-time York-Adams Interscholastic Athletic Association (YAIAA) Division 1 Champions, the Wildcats enter the PIAA Class 6A title tilt riding a 20-game win streak, defeating Manheim Township, Penn Manor and Governor Mifflin in districts and Suburban One American League champion Hatboro-Horsham and Philadelphia Catholic League champ St. Joseph’s Prep in states.
Dallastown outpaced their rivals by a 23-3 margin in three district playoffs including an 11-1 six inning win over Governor Mifflin in the D3 championship.
In states, the ‘Cats have overtaken their first three foes by a 19-3 margin.
TOP PHOTO: Pennsbury first baseman Kyle Dear struck for 3 RBIs in PIAA semifinal win over Liberty. He’s seen on the left batting, and on the right fielding against Perk Valley in a 3-0 quarterfinal win over the Vikings. (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)