BUCKTOWN -- These playoff wars are difficult to decipher. Sometimes pitchers dominate. Other times it is the hitters' turn to take the spotlight.
On Wednesday night, in a Chester County League winners' bracket second-round battle, host NorChester outscored Spring City, 13-9, at Owen J. Roberts High School.
The Bulldogs rang up 19 basehits while Spring City totaled 17 for an aggregate 36 hits in the slugfest. The defending Region 3 champions advanced to todays winners' bracket final against Conestoga, a 19-8 winner over Downingtown, at 5 p.m., back at Owen J. Roberts High School.
Spring City will host Kennett, a 15-5 winner over Caln, in a losers' bracket contest at Ram Stadium today at 5 p.m.
Jeff Kelly, David Vining and Jeff Wiand combined for the mound victory for NorChester. Vining pitched the middle 4 2/3 innings for the victory and also went 3-for-5 at the plate with a double and four runs batted in.
Jason Ferrie struggled in a 2-plus inning stint for the Red Sox with Christian Walker tossing the final six stanzas. Walker had another big hitting day with a pair of home runs, three RBI and two walks.
NorChester built a 9-2 lead after three innings with one run in the first inning, two in the second and a big six-run explosion in the third. Spring City fought back with four runs in the top of the fourth and two more in the sixth to cut the deficit to 9-8. The Bulldogs countered with four additional runs in the last of the sixth to cushion their advantage again.
"We have been working hard on hitting in practice," said NorChester catcher Ryan Chesler, who finished 3-for-4 with a double, three runs scored and one walk. "It finally paid off in hitting at the right time. We were able to make the most of our opportunities.
"I felt good. I changed my stance and moved my hands a little bit and it was working good. It was hot and I get tired back there. I will have to get home and ice, I guess. I have to work through it. I have been doing it all year."
Mike Uhas had two hits, three RBI and three runs scored for the Bulldogs. Brandon Engelhardt, Tim Wiand, George Kochu, Jeff Wiand and Tyler Setzler also had two-hit outings for NorChester.
Rich Guthridge (two RBI) and James Hoff each had three-hit ballgames for the Red Sox. Walker, Dennis Custer, Jason Sampat, Eric Von Stetina (double, two RBI) and Ron Sivick (two RBI) contributed two hits to the Spring City cause.
"It is always a big rivalry when we play Spring City," Chesler said. "We always have to be on top of our game when we play Spring City."
NorChester manager Corbin Stoltzfus discussed the hitters' duel.
"You would never guess that," Stoltzfus said. "We both had pretty good pitchers starting. Sometimes you have to win the high-scoring games, too. We did most of our scoring early and left a lot more runs on base early.
"We didn't put the ball in play when we had guys at third base with less than two outs. So I am pleased to get a win without doing that."
Stoltzfus talked about Vining, a 5-foo-11, 145-pound 16-year-old who started the game in left field and finished the game in center after leaving the mound for the ninth inning.
"David is a tough kid," Stoltzfus said. "He hasn't pitched that much in three or four weeks because he has had a bad back. He has pitched in tough games before and the pressure doesn't get to him."
Spring City manager Jamie Scheck also discussed Vining.
"Their second pitcher did a nice job," Scheck said. "He threw strikes and kept us off balance. He did the job and did what he was supposed to do. He ate up innings and kept them in the game."
Walker's heroics still were not enough for the Red Sox.
"We played a good game," Walker said. "It was not one of our best games, but we still hung with them. We hit the ball hard today. It just wasn't our day. I did whatever I could to keep my team in the game where needed. They needed me to pitch. Now we have to bounce back tomorrow (Thursday) like this never happened. We have to get some momentum. They are a good team and they hit the ball hard. We made some mistakes. That happens, but we have to work through it. That's baseball."
Walker swatted a one-out, two-run homer over the right-center field fence on a 2-2 count in the sixth inning after Zak Tupper had reached base on a single. Walker then ripp-ed a leadoff home run over the left field fence on a 3-1 pitch to start the top of the eighth inning.