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Play at the plate ends Boyertown’s season in 5-4 loss to Pennsbury

FAIRVIEW VILLAGE — It was destined to be a spectacular play, regardless of which team benefited from the final outcome.

Unfortunately, it didn’t go Boyertown’s way. And because of that, the Bears saw their 2015 season end with a 5-4 loss to Pennsbury in the District 1 Class AAAA fifth-place playback game at Methacton High’s Childress Memorial Field.

Trailing the Falcons by a five-run margin through the first five innings, Boyertown started a rally by scoring twice in the top of the sixth. The Bears then made it a one-run game in the seventh, and with two outs threatened to continue their comeback by loading the bases.

But the crucial play ended up taking place at home plate. After Ryan Jacobs (2-for-4) beat out a single to first, Pennsbury first-baseman D.J. Endler fired to catcher Kyle Marshall, who tagged Mitch Pinder (safe on error) for the game-ending out.

“We answered back, and hustled up to the last play,’ Boyertown head coach Todd Moyer said afterward. “Unfortunately, a kid trying to hustle ended up being the last play of the game.’

The inning started with Austin Madeja drawing a four-pitch walk and Zach Moser singling to center with one out. Another out later, Mitch Pinder reached base when Falcon third-baseman Billy Bethel mishandled his hit to the bag, enabling Madeja to score.

Jordan Shustack, running for Moser, then came home off Ben Longacre’s single to right-center. That set the stage for Jacobs to keep the rally going with two runners in scoring position.

“It was a little more dramatic than I would have hoped,’ Joe Pesci, head coach of the third-seeded Falcons, said with a laugh. “But we’ve been playing solid all year, and we got a heads-up play at the end.’

Jacobs’ single up the middle made for a close play at first, though he came up safe. Pinder, in the meantime, came around third with designs on scoring, but Endler’s throw to Marshall was right on the money.

“He (Pinder) hesitated,’ Pesci recalled, “and we tell them (players) to play all the way through.’

While Boyertown had the lead over Pennsbury in hits (11-8), a different statistic proved even more crucial. The Bears committed four errors, three of which factored in the Falcons’ early run production.

Pennsbury got on the board in the second with help from RBI singles from Pat Lawrence (two) and Bethel. It got another in the third when Endler (leadoff double) scored off a Bear miscue, and a final one in the fourth when Lawrence (walk) stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and came home off Endler’s double to center.

“That sizes up our season,’ Moyer said. “If we had zero or one errors, we’d be going on.’

The Bears finally got to Pennsbury starter Zach Conley, who had a five-hit, two-strikeout shutout going prior to the sixth.

Pinder hit a one-out single and stole second while Longacre (3-for-3) walked. Both moved up when Conley was called for a balk, and a subsequent walk to Seth Endy proved the end of Conley’s day on the hill.

Brody McFadden took over, and Mike Raneiri greeted him with a double to left-center that plated both Pinder and Longacre.

“We set ourselves up nicely with a five-run lead,’ Pesci noted, “but they (Boyertown) battled.’

The loss made for an abrupt end to a 2015 season whose upside for Boyertown was winning the Pioneer Athletic Conference’s regular-season championship. In the post-season, though, the Bears were topped by Spring-Ford in the PAC-10 Final Four playoffs’ opening round, and by North Penn in the District 1 quarterfinal round.

“I tell the kids if you’re going to make a mistake, make it an aggressive one,’ Moyer said. “We did, and that burned us.’

NOTES — Andrew Bauer, coming back to pitch after working the first three innings of Boyertown’s 10-0 win over West Chester Rustin Tuesday, lasted only 1-2/3 innings against Pennsbury. “He tried to come back,’ Moyer said of Bauer, who finished the year with a 7-1 record, “but he didn’t have the zip he had Tuesday.’ … Pat Hohlfeld gave Boyertown a solid relief effort, replacing Bauer in the second. Hohlfeld was touched for Pennsbury’s last four hits and two runs, but he also racked up three strikeouts against one walk. … Lawrence and Endler were Pennsbury’s hitting stars, each going 2-for-3. Endler’s line featured a pair of doubles. … Pesci was effusive in his praise of Marshall, who will be taking his game to the collegiate level at Division II Philadelphia University. “Kyle started for us four years. I’d get on him more than anybody else, because I get on the kids from whom I expect more. He’s one of the best defensive catchers we’ve ever had.’

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