BOYERTOWN — It’s not bragging if you make it happen.
Reminded about the championship credentials of Souderton’s American Legion baseball following Friday’s game, Norchester Jordan Siket responded with “Well, they haven’t played us yet.”
Siket was in no danger of having to eat those words Saturday. He and his Bulldog teammates bested Souderton, 3-0, in a winners’ bracket semifinal from the Pa. Region 2 Tournament at Boyertown High’s Bear Stadium.
Sam Morris threw a superlative complete game, and the Bulldogs got enough runs in the second inning to come away victorious. They added insurance in the fifth to qualify for Sunday’s winners’ bracket final against the winner of Saturday’s nightcap between South Parkland and Post 625.
“We came ready,” said Siket, a model of mud in a uniform showing the results of several head-first slides. “Sam threw a helluva game. We didn’t hit as much as we wanted, but we were bunting guys over.”
Souderton, while outhitting Norchester by a mere 4-3 margin, found itself unable to advance anybody to second base. Post 234 managed just seven baserunners on the day and nullified starting pitcher David Gulibon’s own solid mound work for four innings.
“They execute, they’re well coached, and they make plays,” Souderton manager Paul Meara said. “We didn’t execute. I think we had 2-3 chunk hits.”
Norchester’s two-run second saw Ryan Walker drive home Jack Rinehimer (double) with a hit to right, then take second on Norchester’s relay to the plate. The Bulldog first baseman then stole third and home, the latter while Jon Hannevig was dealing with a rundown between first and second.
In the fifth, Hannevig drew a leadoff walk, took second off a wild pitch and took third off Jake Iyoob’s groundout to third. He came home when Austin Boaman lofted a sacrifice fly to right with one out.
That proved sufficient to back Morris’ pitching. He yielded just two walks and struck out nine, getting the job done on 87 pitches.
“We had probably our best game of the season,” Morris said. “We didn’t expect to do as well as we did. We came out hot and kept steady.”
“Sam put the ball where I wanted it,” Siket added. “We figured out the sequences after the first inning.”
Jordan Morales, Aaron Groller, Conlan Wall and Frank Pollock were Souderton’s lone hitters to hit safely, each going 1-for-3). Luke Taylor and Lucas Shank were Post 234’s other players to reach base, both on walks.
“We didn’t get the first guys on. We were flat,” Meara said. “You’ve got to execute, and we didn’t do that.”
Souderton had one heads-up defensive play that prevented Norchester from scoring in the sixth. With one out and Siket and Ryan Sayers on base, Pollock fielded Walker’s fly ball to right, then threw a relay to home plate that stopped Siket’s charge to the plate. The double play was completed when Sayers was tagged at third.
“I thought that might spark us,” Meara said.
That didn’t transpire, though, as Morris fanned Souderton’s last two batters to close out the game in a scintillating 1:34.
NOTES: Morris’ pitching preference was a fastball on the outside corner for first pitches, and a curve for the last ones. “It depends on the situation. I threw only two changeups, but both were for strikeouts.” ... Meara indicated the possibility ace Jordan Morales may get the call to pitch against Boyertown. ... Siket on how he will clean his mud-caked uniform: “I did it at the car wash in Pottstown (Friday), using one of the wands.” ... Norchester manager Rick Harrison on Siket’s bold pronouncement Friday: “He said it. What are you going to do?”