Quakertown head coach Shane Helm figured it would come down to pitching in the Bux-Mont League championship game Tuesday night against Souderton.
His hunch was correct. Unfortunately, his team faced a trio of pitchers whose performance topped his own starter’s showing.
Souderton’s pitchers combined to limit Quakertown to two hits to capture their second straight Bux-Mont crown with a 3-0 shutout at Quakertown Memorial Park.
Quakertown had two runners on base in both the fourth and fifth innings and loaded the bases in the sixth, but the Panthers couldn’t push a run across.
“We got very good pitching in this game as we have all year, but just struggled to be able to get the one big hit we have been able to get all year,” said Helm, who has been subbing for his father, Bob, who underwent hip surgery.
“Souderton is a great team, and it only makes us better playing a very talented team.”
Souderton’s Aaron Groller, Conlan Wall and Jordan Morales checked Quakertown’s normally potent offense and held the Blue Jays to singles by Dennis Pierce in the first and Brad Bryan in the seventh.
Quakertown starter Cole Mehrman went 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and struck out two.
Fortunately for the Blue Jays, their season is not over. They will advance to the Region 2 tournament beginning Friday at Boyertown and meet South Parkland in the opening round of the eight-team, double-elimination format.
Despite the defeat, Helm looked at the big picture, especially after the Panthers’ first-round loss in the Bux-Mont tournament.
“Our team has been playing hard the whole tournament and this season,” added Helm. “They easily could have thrown in the towel after losing in the first round, but our boys showed a lot of heart and fought back to earn a spot in regionals.
“We’re looking forward to the regionals, and we hope we can come out and play with the same heart that we’ve seen throughout the season.”
Pierce, who was hitting .397 and had a 2-0 record with a 0.82 ERA before Tuesday’s game, is optimistic that his team can rebound in regionals.
“We had runners in scoring position (against Souderton), but we couldn’t get them in,” he said. “We faced some good pitching from Souderton and couldn’t get the hit. In regionals, we will have to do that.
“We need to use the couple of days before the tournament to get some rest and have some good practices.”
Mason Hicks, who was hitting .338 with 17 RBIs before Tuesday’s game, also is confident his team can make some noise.
“I think we are a great team of competitors who are ready to get after it during regionals,” he said. “We all have a lot of fun playing together.
“I think we might be overlooked going into regionals and that will work to our benefit because we are a strong team one through nine in our order.”