BOYERTOWN — From the outside, there may have been some debate over who would take the mound for Boyertown in its District 1-AAAA baseball quarterfinal Friday.
Not for coach Todd Moyer. And certainly not for senior Brandon Griesemer either.
"We used him early in the season as a reliever,' Moyer said of the left-handed Griesemer. "This was a big game to get us into the state tournament and move us on in districts, the ball had to go to him.'
Even with the stakes as high as a spot in the PIAA Tournament against a Pennridge team that ended the Bears' season a year ago, Griesemer didn't just want the nod from Moyer. He needed it.
"If he wasn't going to give me the ball ... I'm related to Todd so I think we would have had some words,' Griesemer said. "I needed the ball.'
Griesemer left no debate, spinning a complete-game, four-hit shutout to send Boyertown to a 1-0 victory over Pennridge and earn a spot in the PIAA playoffs and District 1 semifinals Friday afternoon on the Boyertown JV field.
"My whole life, I love pitching under pressure. I love that feeling. It gets your body pumping. You're just throwing,' said Griesemer.
He was just the man for the job after staff ace Tyler Bauman pitched the Bears into the quarterfinals on Wednesday with a 3-0 win over Radnor. It was just Griesemer's second start of the year, his first coming in six-inning effort in a 2-1 win over Owen J. Roberts on May 9.
Pennridge's Joe Molettiere, coming off a 3-0 shutout of West Chester East in the first round, had a solid outing himself, allowing three hits and the game's lone run in four innings of work before being relieved by Dan Long, who sat the Bears down in order in their final two at-bats.
North No. 6 seed Pennridge (13-7) knocked out North No. 2 seed Boyertown (18-4) last year with a 4-1 quarterfinal victory in Bear Stadium. That made the win all the more significant to the Bears.
"I was on the team last year when we lost to them and this year just feels great to beat them, come back and be as strong as we were,' Griesemer said.
Boyertown's run came after Griesemer opened the second inning with a leadoff double — the game's lone extra-base hit — fittingly after getting out of a jam with runners on first and third with no outs in the top half of the frame.
Jordan Shustack entered as a courtesy runner, advanced to third on Dan Purnell's groundout, and came home for the game's lone run on a wild pitch that Pennridge catcher Jeff Roedell couldn't knock down.
In a game of inches, the break was all Griesemer (3-0, two saves) and the error-free Bears defense would need.
"My team kept me in the game,' Griesemer said. "They were behind me the whole game. They are the reason we won — our defense. I love them.'
It was just the sort of bounce-back Moyer was looking for from his team.
"The last game we lost (a 3-2 PAC-10 semifinal loss to Methacton) we had four errors, and that's not our M.O.,' he said. "They came right back and played a good, clean game and made some nice plays behind our pitcher. That's what we do.'
Pennridge coach Tom Nuneviller wondered what could have been had his Rams capitalized on their chance in the second inning.
"Getting that first-and-third with nobody out and not being able to score, that was huge,' Nuneviller said. "If we get that run across that's a confidence booster for us and maybe it's a different game. But you have to give (Griesemer) credit, he threw some off-speed pitches and got us out front.'
The Rams other best chance was in the sixth inning during Griesemer's lone lapse where he hit Pennridge No. 3 and 4 hitters Dan Shane and Dan Long — who homered twice in Wednesday's 8-0 win over Strath Haven.
It prompted a visit to the mound by Moyer.
"I got out there and said, ' Are you done?' He said, ' No, I'm staying in.' I said, ' No, are you done hitting people? Have you gotten it out of you?,' the Bears coach joked. "There was no doubt he was going to stay in the game. His pitch count wasn't that high. He just lost his edge a little bit.'
Griesemer — who utilized a fastball, changeup and curveball in his 83-pitch outing — followed with a fly out and strikeout to end the threat.
Boyertown managed to get a runner to third base on three other occasions — Austin Madeja in the first, Dalton Hughes in the third and Mitch Pinder in the fifth — but could never plate another run.
Despite missing out on a return trip to states, Nuneviller was both complimentary of his squad and of the Bears.
"We're disappointed,' he said. "We got to states last year and had a couple of good games, we beat West Chester East and then had a real good game against Strath Haven where our pitcher (Eric Wesolowski) was tremendous. Great baseball players and on top of that great kids. I hate to say it was a disappointing season, but it is a little disappointing when you don't get to that next level.
"Boyertown is baseball. You hear Boyertown, you know you're in for a battle. They got us today.'
It happened thanks to Griesemer's gem, giving the Bears a bit of redemption in another postseason battle with Pennridge.
"There was talk. They knew exactly what was going down,' Moyer said. "They remembered last year and it stung. We played them tough last year, 1-1 in the sixth and we made a mistake, a couple walks and they won the game. We didn't let that happen (Friday).'
Follow Austin Hertzog on Twitter @AustinHertzog