By Matt Adamiak
BEDFORD – The Bedford High School baseball team had a very strong season, finishing with a 16-3 record, earning the No. 2 seed in the District 5 Class AA playoffs.
Even though it was not necessarily its prettiest victory of the campaign, the Bisons defeated one of its biggest Bedford County rivals in Northern Bedford, 5-1, in the semifinals of the District 5 Class AA playoffs Tuesday at Bedford High School.
The Bisons jumped all over the Panthers in the first two innings, scoring all of their runs in those two frames alone.
After Isaac Kline reached on a one-out walk, No. 3 hitter, Lucas Campbell singled to centerfield. Two batters later, the Bisons got on the scoreboard with a clutch two-out single by Austin Montgomery, scoring the pair.
The bottom of the second inning began innocently enough with a strikeout of designated hitter Andrew Smith at the hands of Northern Bedford Caleb Grace.
The Bisons would still go on to score three in the second – the big blow was a two-run double by Campbell that plated both Downs and Blevins.
Northern Bedford had only played one game in each of the last three weeks. Black Panthers coach David McIlnay believed it could have been a reason for the slow start.
“It’s tough to keep your timing out there,” he said. “But I’m not going to make any excuses though.”
Tyler Black, Bedford’s tall, lanky starting pitcher, looked strong at times. He scattered eight hits, walked just two, and fanned 11. Yet, he failed to retire the side three-up, three-down in any inning. He allowed one baserunner in every inning except for the sixth, in which the Panthers were able to get to Black and score their only run.
“Tyler threw really well today,” Bedford coach Scott Waugerman said. “He got into some jams and he made the pitches when he needed to.”
One of the biggest stories of the game was how many missed opportunities there were for the Bisons. They were still able to win by four, obviously, but they could have easily won by the mercy rule, but failed to come up with the big hit numerous times – leaving 10 runners on base, including eight in scoring position.
“We really have to do a better job of situational hitting,” Waugerman said.
Bedford improved to 17-3. It will play Everett in the District 5 Class AA championship game this week. Bedford lost to the Warriors in the championship game of last year’s playoffs.
“The guys still have a bad taste in their mouths from last year’s loss,” Waugerman said. “It’ll be tough. Everett’s a good team.”
The Panthers finished the season at 13-7.
NORTHERN BEDFORD (1): Stern ss 302, Grace p/1b 401, W. Foor 3b 400, Diehl rf 411, Frederick 2b 302, England 1b/p 201, Gorman c 200, Ketrow c 100, N. Foor 2b 000, Hershberger dh 300, Bequeth cf 301. Total 29 1 8.
BEDFORD (5): Blevins cf 411, Kline ss 020, Campbell c 413, Zembower cr 000, Black p 400, Montgomery 1b 301, Hickey rf 401, Bingham 3b 000, Smith dh 300, Downs lf 311, Henry 2b 200. Totals 27 5 7.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Northern Bedford 000 001 0 1 8 3
Bedford 230 000 x 5 7 2
E Grace, Black, Stern 2, Bingham. 2b Campbell. RBI Montgomery 2, Campbell 2, Kline. Hbp Campbell by England. WP Black. LP Grace. SO Black 11, Grace 4, England 2. BB Black 2, Grace 6.
Records: Northern Bedford (13-7); Bedford (17-3)