ALTOONA - Being at the Mifflin County-Pottsville Babe Ruth 13-year-old game was like being in a time capsule.
On Tuesday night, the Mifflin County Babe Ruth 13-year-olds lost to Pottsville, 10-2, and was eliminated from the Pennsylvania Babe Ruth state tournament.
Mifflin County finished in a tie for third place as Pottsville will now move on to play in the state finals today at 5 p.m. against West End, of Williamsport. West End defeated Broomall-Newtown, 12-2.
Last year, the Mifflin County 13-year-olds also loss in the state semifinals - losing to Bensalem 4-2 on the same field in Altoona. Both teams were managed by Fred Zook.
Strangely, both games started out the same way. Last year, Mifflin County scored two runs in the first inning and never scored again. This year, the 13-year-olds scored one run in the first inning and didn't score again until the sixth.
Mifflin County jumped out in front 1-0 in the first inning. Trent Hidlay reached on an error and Ty Bodtorf followed with a double. It would be the first of only two hits for Mifflin County.
Jordan Marshall then knocked home Hidlay with a sacrifice fly to center. The inning ended when Bodtorf was thrown out trying to steal third.
Mifflin County's only other hit came in the fifth inning as Jonah Kile singled and made it as far as third base. Kile stole second and went to third on a wild pitch.
With Pottsville leading 5-1, Mifflin County looked like it was going to rally to get the game close. Cade Attick led off the inning by getting on base when the Pottsville shortstop misplayed his ball. Hidlay flew out to right. Bodtorf also reached base on an error as Attick scored making it 5-2. Marshall walked, and both runners moved up on a wild pitch. However, the next two batters grounded out and the inning was over.
"I thought if we have scored two runs and cut the lead to 5-4, I really thought we had a chance to win the game," Mifflin County assistant coach Butch Bender said. "It's tough to win a game when you only get two hits. I thought overall our pitching was pretty good for the whole tournament. We had good kids and the parents were great to work with."
Marshall started for Mifflin County and didn't run into any trouble until the third inning. After the first two Pottsville batters reached on singles, Marshall got the next two batters out.
But he walked Eric Wapinsky and then Chris Burke ripped a two-run homer. After the blast, Zook went to Bodtorf. His ace got him out of the inning and Bodtorf kept Mifflin County in the game by only giving up a run over the next two and one-third innings. But in the sixth, Isaac Maclay took over as he gave up five runs on three hits. Mifflin County also committed three errors in that stretch.
Finally with one out in the sixth, Damon Jasper recorded the final two outs of the inning.
Mifflin County had one last hurrah in the seventh. Down 10-2, Kile reached on an error and Colby Kreider walked. John Werbacher, the Pottsville pitcher, got Justin Rodkey on strikes and then got Attick to fly out to right field. Tyler Martin walked to load the bases, but Bodtorf bounced into a fielder's choice and the game was over.
Notes: This was the 65th time a Mifflin County team was in the state's final four...Zook now has had 11 finishes in the final four, tops of any Mifflin County manager...Mifflin County's record in Altoona is 6-5...Mifflin County had a 2-0 record over Pottsville with wins in 2002 in a 13-year-old game, 13-2, and in 2009 in a 15-year-old game, 14-0...For West End, this will mark its 13th state final and for Pottsville it will be its first.