ALTOONA - It's not easy to beat a team four times in the same season. In fact, it's almost impossible.
The Altoona Area All-Stars found that out Monday evening at Seitz Field.
Mifflin County, behind a standout pitching performance from Kyle Peachey, blanked Altoona, 9-0, in a Pennsylvania State 13-year-old Babe Ruth semifinal game.
Altoona Mirror photo
Altoona catcher Ryan Shope tags out Mifflin County’s Drew Williams at home during a Babe Ruth 13-year-old state semifinal Monday.
The other semifinal, between Broomall/Newtown and West End, was rained out and will be played today at 5 p.m. at Seitz. Today's winner will face Mifflin County for the 13-year-old state championship on Wednesday.
Altoona had beaten Mifflin County twice in the district tournament - which Mifflin County hosted - but Mifflin County earned a state berth as the district representative because Altoona was serving as the host team for the state event.
Altoona beat Mifflin County, 4-3, in pool play Saturday and entered Monday's semifinals as the No. 1 seed. Mifflin County, 1-3 in pool play, was the fourth-seeded team, but dominated the hosts Monday.
"Three times. We spanked them three times," Altoona manager Brian Deremer said.
Not so yesterday as the locals couldn't solve the servings of Peachey, a hard-throwing right-hander, who shut out the hosts on three singles while striking out six and walking none.
"He was very tough," Deremer said. "I think we beat him in districts, but the bats didn't work tonight. We played OK defense and (starter) Justin McCoy threw really well to start the game, but the bats didn't work."
Mifflin County's bats worked, though. The winners banged out 12 hits - including six doubles - and put together a couple of big innings, scoring five times in the fourth inning and four in the seventh.
Derrick Cross, Peachy and Drew Williams all had two hits. Nick Hostetler knocked in a pair of runs while Peachey and Carson King each scored twice.
"We're not nine runs better than them and they're not 10 runs better than us like they beat us once," Mifflin County manager Bill Corbin said. "We're two pretty even teams, and you've got to get some breaks.
"It's hard to beat a team three times and they were trying to beat us for the fourth time," Corbin noted. "We finally hit the ball a little better and Kyle did a really nice job."
Mifflin County also played error-free ball.
"We told the kids if they catch the ball they can play with anybody here," Corbin said. "We lost one game here, 10-7, and had nine errors. We knew we could play with anybody, if we fielded it, and we did tonight.
"We did a lot of the small things better tonight," he said. "At this level, it's usually walks and errors that make the difference."
Corbin said every year he's managed a 13-year-old team it reached the state finals, winning four times. This is his 10th trip to the state championship game, nine of them as a manager and one as a coach, a league record.
By clinching the berth, the 13-year-olds became the 39th Mifflin County team to appear in a state final, a state record.