Kimberton punched its ticket to a third straight Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament by downing rival Spring Ford, 12-2, in the finals of the Cal Ripken PA NW 10U State Championship Tournament in Spring City.
The Mean Green erupted for nine runs in the bottom of the fifth inning against the host team to end the game per the 10-run mercy rule. Caimin Hayes delivered the final blow for Kimberton, a walk off blast that landed just shy of the left field fence to plate the 11th and 12th runs of the game and send Spring Ford home disappointed for the second year in a row. It marked the fifth time in six state tournament games that Kimberton opened up a wide enough margin to trigger the mercy rule. Kimberton outscored its opponents, 72-7, during those six games.
Kimberton will compete in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament, which runs from Wednesday, July 25, through Monday, July 30, at Hopewell Valley, N.J.
The win didn't have the drama of last year's state championship game, which went extra innings before Kimberton eventually won, 7-6. However, for four innings it looked like it may have had a chance. Spring Ford grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first against starter Ryan Muntz on a Jack Reinheimer single and a fielder's choice by cleanup hitter Danny Zoller. Kimberton would get two baserunners in the bottom of the first as Spring Ford ace Ben Wilchacky issued two free passes. However a deep fly ball to left by Fran Jacketti was tracked down to end the Kimberton scoring threat. Both pitchers failed to surrender a run in the 2nd although Kimberton threatened on hits by Caimin Hayes and John Vondercrone.
Spring Ford would extend their lead to 2-0 in the top of the 3rd on a Conor Gallagher lead off double and a Reinheimer ground out. Kimberton now found themselves in an unfamiliar position of being down heading into the later innings. However, that feeling didn't last long as the Mean Green bounced back for three runs in the bottom of the third. Lead off hitter Logan Bock reached on an error and Devon Goryl followed with a walk.
After a Ryan Muntz fly out, Dylan Clark reached on another walk to load the bases. That brought up Fran Jacketti who would tap one back toward pitcher Wilchacky and an apparent force at home. But Wilchacky threw wildly toward home, scoring Bock and leaving the bases loaded with only one out. Caimin Hayes then drew a walk to drive in another run and tie the game at two. Kimberton would add another run on a fielder's choice ground out by Aiden Fisher to go up 3-2 after three innings.
Muntz was settling in for Kimberton and retired Spring Ford in order in the top of the 4th. Wilchacky would surrender singles to Logan Bock and Devon Goryl but get out the jam unscathed in the bottom half. Wilchacky, who didn't have his usual command, would be finished after the fourth due to the inning restrictions. Wilchacky pitched two innings the previous night against Delaware Valley in the semifinals.
In the top of the fifth, Muntz recorded two quick outs but surrendered a walk to Reinheimer who advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch. But Muntz would get Wilchacky looking at a called third strike to end the inning and keep Kimberton on top 3-2.
Spring Ford would have to go into their bullpen in the bottom of the 5th. However, Spring Ford didn't have the pitching depth enjoyed by Kimberton and had to turn to the previous night's starter Conor Gallagher to carry them the rest of the way. Gallagher managed to get one out but clearly looked tired after throwing four innings against Delaware Valley.
Kimberton added a run on hits by Jacketti and Fisher to make it 4-2. Matt Foster then walked, putting runners on first and second with one out for third baseman K.J. Quinn. After a wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third, Quinn responded with the biggest hit of the day, a sharp double to left that scored Fisher and Foster to break it open 6-2.