By Frank Foreman
For a baseball team made up of 9- and 10-year olds, a little patience can go a long way. Mid-East utilized patience in a big way Wednesday evening as it defeated Cambridge Springs in the opening round of the Pennsylvania District 1 Tournament, 7-4, at the Crawford County Fairgrounds Fields.
A back-and-forth game early on, it was a decisive fourth inning that put Mid-East ahead for good.
After the first three batters reached on a hit batsman and a pair of walks, back-to-back wild pitches scored Mid-East’s Jackson Mattocks and Walker Wheeling to push Mid-East ahead, 3-2. Two batters later, Roderick Hochstetler brought home Kyle Peters on a groundout to make it 4-2.
Jason McFadden followed suit with an RBI single to score Joey King to make it 5-2 quickly turning a one-run deficit into a three-run advantage.
And it all started with the key walks to start the inning.
“I had them take probably eight pitches in a row, and they walked both those guys and it just kept going,” Mid-East manager Jack McFadden said. “We just kept scoring on passed balls, and that’s basically how we won the game.”
Cambridge Springs made a nice comeback in the top of the fifth when Walker Cunningham drove home a pair of runs on a clutch single and and error to cut the lead to 5-4 in favor of Mid-East.
But back came Mid-East, as it took advantage of Cambridge Springs miscues, scoring two more runs on wild pitches to push the lead to three runs.
From there, Wheeling closed the door in the final frame to give Mid-East a first-round victory.
Lacking offense early, Mid-East finally cashed in with a big double by King to bring home its first run of the game.
“He just wanted to put the bat on the ball, and sometimes that just happens,” coach McFadden said. “The bottom of our order hit the ball the best for us.”
Leading the way for Mid-East was Harrison Herschberger, who pitched four strong innings, allowing just two runs on two hits while striking out eight.
“He’s our best pitcher,” McFadden said. “We started him first and I thought that he did great. He throws hard for a little kid, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
Offensively, Herschberger led the way with two hits.
For Cambridge Springs, Cunningham was strong, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs in the losing effort.