In a majority of its district-level playoff games this spring, the Spring-Ford baseball team found itself in close-scoring affairs.
Most of the time, the Rams were able to come out on the high side. That didn't prove to be the case Friday, when they faced Conestoga in the District 1 Class AAAA bracket's third-place game.
Scoring twice in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Pioneers reversed Spring-Ford's 2-1 lead into a 3-2 deficit. A scoreless top of the seventh later, that proved to be the final tally as Conestoga claimed the third seed for the upcoming PIAA Tournament. The Rams (17-7) were consigned to the fourth seed for states, where they will open against District 11 champion Parkland at 4 p.m. at Easton Area High School.
In this duel of district fourth seeds, Spring-Ford (North) scored in its first at-bat against Conestoga starter Jake Bufo, who went just one inning before being replaced by Austin Guyer. The Rams scored again in the sixth to break a 1-1 tie, but Conestoga (South) answered with the tying and eventual game-winning runs.
Spring-Ford was coming off a 5-0 no-hit loss to Boyertown Tuesday. In prior district outings last week, it topped Avon Grove and Coatesville by respective 7-6 and 2-1 margins.
The Rams' five-hit offense was evenly shared by Connor Klemann, Connor Murphy, Shane Emrich, Mike Fuhrmeister and Ryan Markey. David Gulati had their lone RBI, with Klemann and Markey scoring their runs.
Cam Simmons, who got the starting nod on the hill for Spring-Ford, scattered two hits and the Pioneers' first run in the third while fanning three. Cody Brown took the loss after two frames of work, with Ryan Cass closing out the Ram mound chores on a one-hit sixth.
Ryne Ogren, Brandon Ruffenach and Andrew Smith drove in Conestoga's runs to make a winner of Guyer, who yielded four hits while fanning five.
NorChester 8, Westtown 1: The Bulldogs used a series of two-run bursts to outdistance the Express in their non-league matchup.
NorChester scored in every inning but the second and third, limiting Westtown to its lone run in the sixth. Noah Beebe homered and drove in three runs to key the ' Dogs, who got a 2-for-3 night from Dave Clay and other RBI production from Ben Condello, Collin McCourt and Dylan Wisen to support winning pitcher Dylan Gallagher.
Pottstown PAL 4, Reading RBI 2: Brian Delp and Pat Flynn pooled their pitching talents into the Spartans' City/County League win over Reading RBI.
Delp got the win for Pottstown PAL (2-0, 6-0) with 4-2/3 innings of one-hit work, and Flynn earned the save on the strength of his seven-strikeout relief. Nick Thomas drove in a pair of fourth-inning runs to head the Spartans' offense.
PREP BASEBALLSpring-Ford Yellow 13, Norchester 1: Jason Smiley pitched a no-hitter through three innings and struck out three for the win. Leading the Yellow offense, Steven Brill was 4-for-5, with a double, while Smiley went 2-for-3, and Mark Cecconi smacked a double. Boyertown Gray 11, Liberty 2: A.J. Kline lead the way on the mound with five strong innings for Boyertown Gray in Tri-County Prep action. He helped himself with the bat with two singles. Stephen Cisik had a strong game as well, with a double and single. Boyertown Gray moves to 2-1.