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Gov. Mifflin advances to PIAA Class 5A baseball final with win over Selinsgrove

HERSHEY — In search of an appearance in the state championship game for the first time in program history, the Gov. Mifflin baseball team rose to the occasion.

While surely every moment this deep in the postseason holds immense significance, the District 3 runner-up Mustangs came up with several momentum-shifting plays in a PIAA Class 5A semifinal Monday evening to swing the tide and earn a 7-2 comeback victory over Selinsgrove, the District 4 champion, at Hershey High School.

With the win, Gov. Mifflin advances to play Holidaysburg (17-5), the District 6 champion and 3-1 winner of Monsignor Bonner Monday, on Friday at 4:30 p.m. at Penn State. In addition, the Mustangs (23-5) became the first Berks team to reach a state final since Oley Valley in 2021.

“They got up that one run early, and we did not fall,” Gov. Mifflin coach Chris Hole said. “We fought back and we kept extending and did a lot of little things well today.

“We moved runners up, we had some clutch hits, Bryce (Detwiler) pitched out of a couple jams, Ethan (Grim) came in and slammed the door (in relief), Travis (Jenkins), as always, had a great game behind the plate (at catcher).

“That’s what your clutch players do in the biggest moments.”

As Hole alluded, the Mustangs stepped up early, often and when they were needed most.

A fielder’s choice groundout by starting pitcher Joshua Domaracki scored Tucker Teats from third for the Seals to make it 1-0 at the end of the first. Teats, who reached on a walk, stole second and third prior to scoring.

Selinsgrove (21-3) was able to carry its 1-0 lead into the third after Gov. Mifflin left five runners stranded over the first and second innings.

Branson Adams grounded out with the bases loaded in the top of the second, and earlier, Dylan Barrett struck out with runners on first and third for the Mustangs.

Nevertheless, that was where the Seals’ propulsion stopped, as Barrett found his redemption before long and the junior crushed an inside fastball to left center for an RBI double that scored two in the top of the third. Barrett ended the game 1-for-4 with a run scored and the two RBIs.

RJ Weaver then hit an RBI single moments later to score Barrett and give Gov. Mifflin a 3-1 heading into the bottom of the third, and the Mustangs would stay on top the rest of the way.

“I got my pitch and I did what I had to do with it off the bat; it felt amazing,” Barrett said. “I didn’t feel anything, I just knew it was gonna be a shot.

Gov. Mifflin’s Dylan Barrett hits a two-run double in the third inning of the Mustang’s 7-2 victory on Monday over Selinsgrove in the PIAA semifinal at Hershey’s Memorial Field. (BILL UHRICH – READING EAGLE)

“After the first at-bat, I knew that there was nothing I could do about it. I’m very competitive and I just wanted to get back out and help my teammates as best I could.”

Jenkins, an All-Berks selection at catcher, began to leave his mark in the field in the bottom of the third inning.

After a hard-hit ground ball by Teats allowed him to reach first on an error and a runner to score, making it 3-2, Teats picked up his third steal of the night and found himself on second.

Moments later, with runners on first and second and two outs, Teats attempted to take third once again, but to no avail, as Jenkins launched a fast pickoff move to throw Teats out at third.

Selinsgrove’s Tucker Teats is thrown out at third by Gov. Mifflin catcher Travis Jenkins on a steal attempt in the third inning with the tag from Gov. Mifflin’s Matt Koehler in the Mustang’s 7-2 victory on Monday over Selinsgrove in the PIAA semifinal l at Hershey’s Memorial Field. (BILL UHRICH – READING EAGLE)

In the sixth, Jenkins picked off a runner at first to end the inning and leave two stranded for Selinsgrove, keeping the game at 6-2.

“He just got jumpy,” Jenkins said. “We saw his front foot and knee turn out (to run), so that’s how you knew he was going to run.”

Detwiler, the reigning Berks Player of the Year, earned the win on the mound and shined at the plate as well.

Ethan Grim hit an RBI double to make it 4-2 in the fourth, before Detwiler all but sealed the win in the fifth. Grim finished the game 2-for-4 with a double an RBI and a run scored.

Gov. Mifflin’s Ethan Grim scores the Mustang’s second run following Dylan Barrett’s two-run double in the Mustang’s 7-2 victory on Monday over Selinsgrove in the PIAA semifinal at Hershey’s Memorial Field. (BILL UHRICH – READING EAGLE)

With runners on first and second and two outs, Detwiler hit an RBI double deep to left to score both runners and give Gov. Mifflin a commanding 6-2 lead. He finished 2-for-4 with with to RBIs and a double.

In the bottom half of the inning, Detwiler came up clutch once more with his arm.

Flashing his skills on both sides of the game, with the bases loaded and one out, Detwiler struck out two consecutive batters and caught Owen Santiago looking at a curveball inside to end the inning.

“It felt amazing,” Detwiler said on hitting the RBI double. “I was thinking I was gonna get a fastball and it was a middle-in fastball and I just put a good swing on it to put more runs on the board for my team.

“I was mostly throwing fastball, curveball and mixing change up here in there, and I just felt good off the jump. I got myself in a couple of jams with walking people, but I’m thankful that my defense got me out of it.”

Through six innings Detwiler allowed six hits, two earned runs, two walks and struck out eight.

Gov. Mifflin’s Bryce Detwiler allowed six hits and two runs in six innings in the Mustang’s 7-2 victory on Monday over Selinsgrove in the PIAA semifinal at Hershey’s Memorial Field. (BILL UHRICH – READING EAGLE)

Grim came on to pitch the seventh inning in relief after RJ Weaver closed out the scoring with an RBI single to make it 7-2 in the top half of the seventh. Weaver ended the game 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

Grim allowed no hits, no walks and struck out one in relief in the seventh.

Looking to be the first team from Berks to win the state title since Conrad Weiser 2010, the Mustangs, while proud of Monday’s win, are not resting on any laurels.

“It feels good but the job is not done,” Jenkins said. “We got something to play for Friday.”