BOYERTOWN — You work hard all year and win every game you possibly can so that you're in a good position when the district playoffs begin.
That's what the Boyertown baseball team did this season and the rewards were a bye in the first round of the District 1-AAAA tournament and a Wednesday afternoon home contest with a well-rested ace pitcher on the mound.
That all worked out as hoped for the Bears, who scored three runs in the first inning and got a one-hit shutout from Tyler Bauman in a 3-0 win over Radnor at the JV field. Boyertown (18-4) will play at home again on Friday at 4 p.m. in a quarterfinal against Pennridge, an 8-0 winner over Strath Haven.
"Playing a home game is very nice,' said Bauman, a senior left-hander who allowed only a two-out double to the fence in left to Josh Katz in the second and a pair of walks in the sixth while striking out six. "You make sure that every game of the regular season you take care of business and hopefully get two home games.'
"You get a home game. We got a bye,' said Todd Moyer, coach of the Bears, the No. 2 seed from the North. "I wasn't sure what was going to happen after a 10-day layoff. It was nice to get that fast start, and everyone relaxed.'
Austin Madeja was hit by a pitch with one away in the Boyertown first and sped to third on a line single up the middle by Zach Moser. Tyler Comport brought in a run with a hit to center and Brandon Griesemer plated another with a double to right. Then Dan Purnell put down a squeeze bunt and Comport was safe on a close play at the plate for a 3-0 lead.
Bauman and the defense took care of the rest against the Red Raiders (13-8), the No. 7 seed from the South, who had won a 4-0 game against Central Bucks East on Monday.
Bauman threw less than 90 pitches in the seven-inning contest as the Radnor batters were ready to swing throughout the afternoon.
"They were an aggressive-hitting team, swinging early in the count,' he said. "I was just trying to get the breaking pitches over early and make them hit my pitch — the pitch I wanted them to hit.'
"They were aggressive swinging the bat, and he stayed on the edges of the strike zone,' added Moyer. "Enough so that they weren?t able to zone in on their hitting.'
Bauman got the next batter swinging for his first strikeout following the double by Katz and struck out the side in the fourth. He recorded nine outs on groundballs, three of them back to the mound. All of those plays were routine except for a good one by second baseman Wesley Fox, who made a one-handed stab of a hard grounder to his right and an off-balance throw to first on the leadoff man in the fifth.
"Everything seemed to be working,' said Bauman. "The fastball spotted where I wanted and I was getting my breaking pitches over.'
The Raiders had a shot in the sixth when Bauman walked back-to-back batters with one out. But shortstop Moser snared a line drive and tossed to second for a double play and the Raiders were set down quickly in the seventh on a grounder and two strikeouts.
"There's always a rough point in every game,' Bauman said concerning his brief loss of control in the sixth. "You've just got to work through it and keep fighting.'
Boyertown managed just one hit off right-hander Garrett McGurl after the first, a bunt single by Madeja leading off the third. The last 11 Bears batters went down in order.
"That was a great start,' said Moyer. "It's always great to get that start. And then, for some reason, we were undisciplined the last four innings. We were swinging at balls out of the strike zone. You can't help pitchers get easy outs.'
But in this case, the early scoring was enough to send the Bears to within one win of a spot in the PIAA Tournament.
"Hopefully, we get another one on Friday,' said Moyer.
"Hopefully, come out and play strong on Friday, and get a win and play again on Tuesday,' added Bauman.
The game was played in light rain at the beginning and lasted just an hour and 26 minutes. ... North No. 6 seed Pennridge (13-6) posted its second straight shutout in upsetting South No. 3 seed Strath Haven as Eric Wesolowski struck out nine and Danny Long knocked in six runs. ... The Bears could have had more in the first, but both runners were out on a double-steal attempt to end the inning. ... Madeja stole two bases in the third and the Raiders committed the only error of the contest by either side, but McGurl escaped the jam with a pop to second and one of his two strikeouts. ... Boyertown, which has not been able to play any games at Bear Stadium this season, is undefeated at home.