QUAKERTOWN — For Souderton, one game was enough Tuesday night.
“We definitely didn’t want to stay for two more hours,” Souderton’s Joe Santone said. “We just wanted to get the job done and go home and get ready for this coming weekend.”
Souderton did not allow Quakertown to force a deciding winner-take-all matchup on the final day of the Bux-Mont American Legion tournament. Instead a trio of Post 234 pitchers combined on a two-hit shutout while Souderton got the offense it needed in the fourth and fifth innings to the league playoff championship with a 3-0 victory over the Blue Jays at Memorial Stadium.
“We were all pretty tired from the state title (with Souderton Area High School) and having to play 20 games in 21 days or some crazy stat like that was definitely difficult,” Souderton’s Conlan Wall said. “But I’m glad we’re able to pull out the championship again. Just keep it rolling, I guess.”
Wall pitched three-plus inning in relief to earn the win while his single in the bottom of the fifth was the start of a two-out rally that led to two insurance runs as Souderton collected the Bux-Mont sweep — capturing a second-straight postseason crown to go with its regular-season title.
Both teams advance to the Region 2 Tournament, which begins Friday at Bear Stadium in Boyertown. Souderton, the defending Region 2 champ, takes on Schuylkill-Berks champ Muhlenberg in the tournament opener at 10 a.m. with Quakertown following with a matchup against Lehigh Valley champ South Parkland in Game 2.
“We’re going in there guns blazing, try to go as far as we possibly can,” Wall said. “Try to do the same thing we did in high school which is get it rolling and keep it rolling.”
Santone broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth with his one-out RBI double to left. Souderton extended its lead in the fifth on Frank Pollock’s RBI single and a RBI double by Moses Clemens.
David Gulibon finished 3-for-3 with a run scored while Wall went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored as Souderton won its 10th straight game since getting sweep in a doubleheader by Quakertown July 2.
“Everybody just wanted to get out, get out of here and just get a win so that way we didn’t have to play another one,” Post 234’s Jordan Morales said. “But everybody was just playing loose, just playing their game and we’ve been doing that all season long.”
After Wall walked the first two Quakertown batters in the top of the sixth, Morales took over on the mound but walked Adam Ritter to load the bases with no outs. However, the left-hander bound for La Salle University buckled down and struck out the next three batters to maintain the three-run lead.
“It took me a little bit. I just thought that I had two guys on, I wasn’t really trying to do too much but when I walked the first batter, I mean, they had good hitters up and I just tried to bear down as much as possible. And (assistant) coach (Jay) Price and (catcher) Billy Norbeck just called a good game behind the plate and I was able to get out of the inning.”
In the seventh, Brad Bryan registered the Blue Jays’ second hit with a one-out single but Morales seal his save and the shutout by getting the next two batters to fly out.
“This group is pretty special,” Morales said. “We have a bond together that I don’t think will ever be broken. These kids they’re literally probably family to me. Everyone just wants to hang out with each other and it just make one another better every day. We just like joking around and being around each other. It’s just really fun and this team’s really special cause we don’t quit.
“We just like to play hard every single game. Playing from the state title game and then coming back from all that, playing 19 straight games in 19 straight days, it was a little hard on us but we were able to do it and just zoned in during the season and we just kept rolling.”
Wall picked up the win after coming in for Souderton starting pitcher Aaron Groller at the beginning of the third. Wall did not allow a hit, struck out four and walked six. The right-hander worked out of a pair of two-on, one-out jams in back-to-back innings — getting out in the fourth with consecutive strikeouts while a 4-6-3 double play ended the Blue Jay threat in the fifth.
“Whenever I pitch usually I can’t throw a curveball for a strike and today I was able to do that,” Wall said. “So I think that’s what kind of kept me going a little bit even though I couldn’t really locate my fastball very well.”
Quakertown starting pitcher Cole Mehrman took the loss, giving up three runs — all earned on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out two.
With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Gulibon hit an infield single with an error on the play putting him at second base. The next at-bat, Santone thought he drew a walk on a 3-1 pitch — tossing his bat toward the Souderton dugout — but the call instead was a strike, making it a full count. Santone, however, regrouped and proceeded to connect on a double into the left-field corner, bringing home Gulibon for the game’s first run.
“I just kept my focus,” Santone said. “When I thought I walked, like sometimes you can lose focus. Kept the same mentality and just try to drive it and do the job.”
Wall jumped-started Souderton’s two-out rally in the fifth. He singled through the left side of the infield, stole second then scored to make it 2-0 as Pollock lined a single to right.
“I was just trying to barrel up a pitch,” Wall said. “He threw me a low and in fastball so I kind of got a little overtop of it and rolled over but it got through, I can still hit pretty hard. Just get me to second and then Frank having that clutch hit was big.”
Pollock went to second a wild pitch and scored for a 3-0 lead when Clemens doubled to left.