First Posted: 7/30/2014
BOYERTOWN — Facing North Parkland’s best hitter and with a runner on third in the fourth inning, Swoyersville’s Bill Gregory chose to attack the hitter rather than work around him.
Gregory says he not the kind of pitcher who considers issuing an intentional walk.
“I don’t think like that,” he said. “My mindset is to go after the hitter, and hopefully my stuff is good enough to beat him.”
Gregory tossed a five-hit shutout on Wednesday to lead Swoyersville to a 2-0 victory over North Parkland in the winners bracket of the American Legion State Tournament.
Throwing just 83 pitches, he struck out two for the Red Dogs (25-1), who advance to Thursday’s winners’ bracket final at 7:30 p.m.
With a win over West Mifflin, Swoyersville would clinch a berth in Saturday’s state title round and a berth in the Mid-Atlantic National Regional Tournament.
“This is unbelievable,” Gregory said. “We’re on the verge of accomplishing one of our goals.”
Using a two-seam fastball and a curveball, he limited the North Parkland to six base runners.
The Buffaloes threatened in the fourth, getting a runner to third on Gregory’s errant pickoff throw with two outs.
Gregory said he never considered intentionally walking Brett Kosclolek – who led his team with two hits — to face a less productive hitter.
“That’s not my approach,” Gregory said.
North Parkland brought the potential winning run to the plate in the ninth with two outs. But the pitcher induced a game-ending groundball to third base.
“Bill owned this game,” Swoyersville manager Sean Toole said. “This is the best effort I’ve ever seen him give. He did a great job pounding the strike zone. I knew he would be able to get the job done.”
The Red Dogs, who finished with seven hits, scored quickly against North Parkland starting pitcher Alex Flynn. Jeremy Sabecky singled up the middle leading off the first inning, and Chris Lupole walked.
Ryan Hogan drove in Sabecky with a single to left. But after an errant throw home put runners on second and third, Flynn retired the next three hitters to end the rally.
Swoyersville went ahead 2-0 in the third. Lupole doubled leading off the inning, took third on a flyball to right and scored on a two-out infield hit by Jerry Worlinsky.
“As soon as we got the first run I knew we were going to win,” Gregory said. “I have faith in the guys on the team and our defense.”
Toole said he wasn’t sure which pitcher will start Thursday.
“I haven’t decided yet,” the manager said. “We have a couple guys who will be ready to roll.”
Swoyersville 2, North Parkland 0
Alex Flynn, Nick Helfrick (8) and Dan Zacaro.
Bill Gregory and Ryan Hogan.
LP: Alex Flynn.