BUCKTOWN >> The Owen J. Roberts pitching staff used a group effort to get through the first two rounds of districts.
Seven different pitchers toed the rubber for the Wildcats in a second round win over Central Bucks South and a quarterfinal win over Garnet Valley.
On Tuesday, it was nearly a one-man show for OJR on the mound.
Jarred Berish hurled a gem, going 6 2/3 innings before Dean Mihos needed one pitch to finish off a 4-1 win over Coatesville in a District 1-6A semifinal.
PHOTO GALLERY: Owen J. Roberts-Coatesville Baseball 5.31.22
The victory sends Owen J. Roberts to the first District 1 championship game in program history against top-seeded West Chester Henderson (a 4-3 walk-off winner over Pennsbury) on Thursday at Plymouth Park.
“It was great. I felt good in the beginning and ended up bringing it all the way to the sixth inning,” Berish said.
.@OJRbaseball Jarred Berish nearly tossed a complete game and Tristan Dietrich doubled twice to drive in three runs in Owen J. Roberts’ District 1 semifinal win on Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/bZVuh3UiUy
— Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue) May 31, 2022
A two-out double off the right field fence by Tristan Dietrich (2-for-3, 3 RBI) gave OJR a 2-1 lead after four innings.
There weren’t too many nervy moments for Berish, who had three 1-2-3 frames including the ensuing top of the fifth. But Coatesville brought the meat of its order up with one out and the tying run on second in the top of the sixth.
Berish struck out two straight batters to escape the jam. He finished with one earned run on five hits and two walks, while striking out 10.
“I wasn’t trying to, but I guess I was pitching around him then got him with that inside change-up, which was big,” Berish said of the first strikeout in the sixth.
Dietrich broke the game open in the bottom half of the sixth with a two-run double to give the Wildcats a 4-1 lead.
“I wasn’t trying to do too much, just trying to put the bat on the ball and get my teammates in,” Dietrich said. “I got a pitch low in the zone, inside, a great pitch, and I was happy to keep it fair.”
The depth of Owen J. Roberts’ lineup was again on display as Dietrich did his damage out of the No. 7 hole.
“That’s what we were saying: ‘Why the heck’s that guy batting in the seven hole?’ But that’s where they have him,” Coatesville coach Hal Ziegler said.
Coatesville starter Alex Kuehn (5 1/3 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K) bore down after a 33-pitch first inning to pitch into the sixth. A dropped flyball in the sixth hurt the Red Raiders in the breakout inning before Dietrich’s double.
“That’s Alex, that’s the way Alex gives us everything he’s got,” Ziegler said. “You’ve seen today, all the kids gave us everything they’ve got, diving for balls. It wasn’t for a lack of effort. They’re (OJR) a good team. They hit the ball well.”
Coatesville used singles by Spencer Ferguson and Zach Kudlacik and a walk by Joe Mozzone to load the bases and put the tying run on base with two outs in the seventh, ending Berish’s outing one out short of a complete game with the top of the Red Raiders’ lineup coming up.
Mihos came in and needed just one pitch to get a ground ball to second baseman Ethan Sabatino for the final out, making sure Berish’s masterful first six innings didn’t go to waste.
“He did amazing today, absolutely awesome,” Blaine Waltimyer said of Berish’s outing. “We’re all really proud of him and glad he came out big and shut them down.”
Dean Mihos plated Kyle O’Connor with a sac fly to spot the Wildcats an early 1-0 lead. Jake Stewart plated the only run for Coatesville, putting a ball in play to score Harry Susi after a walk and a bunt single by Kudlacik.
Kudlacik had a two-hit day for Coatesville, while Stewart, Ferguson and RJ Rickabaugh tallied the Red Raiders’ other knocks.
Along with Dietrich’s two hits, Waltimyer (double), O’Connor, Aaron Kirby and Ethan Sabatino had hits for OJR.
Coatesville will travel to fifth-seeded Pennsbury for the third/fourth place game on Thursday before beginning its state playoff run next week.
“We’ll figure it out,” Ziegler said. “It’s back to practice tomorrow and be ready for Thursday.”
The Wildcats are currently on a 21-game win streak, and face a West Chester Henderson squad (22-1) that boasts an 18-game streak of its own.
Now that they made it to the program’s first District 1 championship, the Wildcats have plans to win it.
“We can’t wait, we’re ecstatic,” Dietrich said. “We’re going to go out there, get after it and try and bring home a district championship.”
NOTES >> Waltimyer, the Wildcats’ left-handed hitting third baseman, has four extra-base hits in three District 1 games — three doubles and a homer. “I’m really just getting in there and having a quick bat to the ball really,” Waltimyer said. “Not really trying to do too much and just having a level bat and a path to the ball and just trying to help my team, do the best that I can.”