PLYMOUTH >> Central Bucks West has had no shortage of heroes during an improbable run through the District 1-6A baseball tournament. In the program’s biggest moment ever, it was Sam Greer who answered the call.
In the Bucks’ first district final in school history, Greer held down top-seeded Spring-Ford with six innings of one-hit, shutout ball, allowing No. 14 Central Bucks West to blank the Rams, 4-0 to claim the program’s first District 1-6A title in program history at Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth on Thursday.
“It was a big performance and I’m grateful. I thank God for that,” Greer said. “I just think as a team, we played our hearts out. We have a great pitching staff and it just happened to be me. If anybody else is on the mound today, I think they would’ve done the same job.”
The championship was the exclamation point for a CB West team that, as the 14th seed, shut out No. 3 Methacton 10-0, routed No. 2 North Penn 14-1 and ultimately ousted top-seeded Spring-Ford to complete a circuit that, on paper, looked to be a tall order.
Just one run let up against the top three teams in District 1-6A equaled catching fire at the right time.
“We’ve been confident all season. We know we’re a good team,” Greer said. “I mean we know we lost some guys last year, but part of the team is still there. We’ve been confident all year. We knew we could make it this far and it was just about sticking together and getting hot at the right time.”
FINAL — No. 14 Central Bucks West 4, No. 1 Spring-Ford 0
In their first ever District 1 final appearance ever, Greer pitches six shutout innings of one-hit ball for the Bucks.
CB West took down the top three seeded teams in the tournament along the way. pic.twitter.com/qm5b3HYKEG
— Evan Wheaton (@EvanWheaton) June 1, 2023
Greer struck out four with two walks allowed over 91 pitches. His lone hit was given up in the bottom of the sixth inning to Spring-Ford (21-4) leadoff man David Ruckman on a single. Alex Jenkinson closed out for Central Bucks West (18-6) in the seventh with one hit allowed.
“To be honest, I just threw the fastball. They weren’t catching up to it, so I just kept chucking it in different places,” Greer said. “Just making them miss, making them foul off. Some early contact helps to keep the pitch count down and the outs hot.”
The Bucks scored one run over each of the first three innings. Kevin Bukowski worked a walk to lead off the game before taking second base on a bunt, then Army commit Max McGlone (2-for-4, two RBIs) drove him in for what became the permanent lead, 1-0.
With back-to-back singles to start the second inning, Matt Carr advanced runners with a sacrifice bunt before a sacrifice fly from Jack Hoganauer extended the Bucks’ lead, 2-0.
Greer added an RBI double in the third inning, giving Central Bucks West a three-run edge with two hits on the day.
“I was just keeping inside the box, per se. Playing to my game, not going outside the box, not doing too much,” Greer said. “That’s what I try to do all game. Other than the two errors, my defense backed me up really well and they made every play that was hit their way and I’m grateful for that.”
After a scoreless fourth inning, Central Bucks West capped the scoring in the fifth. Bill Zentmayer doubled along the left line and McGlone drove him in with a line drive to right field to establish the 4-0 result.
Spring-Ford was able to limit things with double plays from the field behind Michael deHaan on the mound. deHaan threw 5 2⁄3 innings with two strikeouts and nine hits allowed. Andrew Wible pitched the last 1 ⅓ innings.
“Michael did a good job of competing out there and keeping us in the game,” Rams coach Rick Harrison said. “He really was working hard. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t get that big hit.”
The District 1-6A final was the first time all season Spring-Ford was shut out all season.
Gage Swanger recorded the Rams’ other hit against Jenkinson in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Rams were coming off a semifinal that consisted of not a single batter striking out against Plymouth Whitemarsh, while taking double-digit wins in the previous two rounds of the tournament.
“They were chipping away one run here or there. They got their runs on some free bases and things early on and they executed pretty well getting those runs in,” Harrison said. “But I could still envision, with our lineup, that we could get one or two more guys on and hitting a gap and getting back in the game. I was confident and I’m always confident in this group.”
Both teams advance to the PIAA tournament, which begins Monday, June 5. CB West will meet District 3 runner-up Wilson at a site to be determined (either Plymouth Twp. or Boyertown). Spring-Ford, as District 1 runner-up, will host District 12 runner-up Central.
Central Bucks West 4, Spring-Ford 0
2B — Zentmayer, Greer.