Daniel Boone falls in Berks Conference final

READING — For a moment, Bryant Schwoyer appeared to deliver the pivotal hit for Daniel Boone in Wednesday night’s Berks Conference championship game.

“In the dugout, we all thought it was a double in the gap,’ senior Christian Fernandez said.

However, Governor Mifflin center fielder Zach Weidner made a diving catch in right-center field.

“(Weidner) made an incredible catch,’ Fernandez said. “He saved the game.’

The Mustangs used the sixth-inning play to quell a Daniel Boone rally and post a 3-1 victory at FirstEnergy Stadium to capture the Berks County title.

John Catchmark went the distance on the mound for Governor Mifflin (17-9), allowing six hits and striking out seven.

The Blazers (11-10) brought the potential go-ahead run to the plate in the seventh inning, but Catchmark induced a ground ball to end the game.

“I’m so proud of the effort the players gave,’ said Daniel Boone head coach Jason McCord, whose team absorbed two lopsided losses to the Mustangs during the regular season by a combined score of 23-0. “They showed fight and grit. They never gave up on themselves or each other.’

Despite some early defensive struggles behind starting pitcher Jordan Goodrich, the seventh-seeded Blazers pulled within 2-1 in the top of the fifth on Fernandez’s single up the middle.

Down 3-1 in the sixth, they mounted another rally. Consecutive singles by Brendan Rivoli and Bryce Stout put runners on first and second with one out. Swoyer, their No. 5 hitter, followed with his drive to right center.

Weidner ranging far to his left, caught the ball on his stomach. Goodrich said he felt a collective letdown in the Daniel Boone dugout.

“I was not sure if the ball was going to drop,’ McCord said. “The center fielder made a game-saving catch. If that ball gets past him and rolls to the wall, both runs would have probably scored.’

The Blazers, making their first appearance in the conference title game since 1975, committed two first-inning errors. But Goodrich worked out of trouble.

“There were some nerves early on,’ said the junior pitcher, who permitted two runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings. “None of us had ever been in a title game before.’

Governor Mifflin took a 2-0 lead in the third on Niko Hulsizer’s two-run double to left.

In the top of the fifth, Daniel Boone utilized two hits and a walk to get within 2-1. Fernandez’s single drove home Sean Bologa, who singled to right and moved to second on a walk to Ty Eisenwein.

The Mustangs added an earned run in the bottom of the fifth. Niko Hulsizer, who reached on an infield error leading off the inning, eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Evan Pollock.

Reaching the conference title game will certainly boost the confidence of the Blazers’ players, according to Fernandez.

“I’m looking forward to see what this team can do in the next couple of years,’ Fernandez said.

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