After a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Spring City in the second round of the MBC Prep Legion League playoffs on Friday night, the Upper Perk Warriors were back in action Saturday morning in a third-round game against Norchester.
Despite the emotional victory the previous evening, the Warriors used a steady defense and timely hitting to shut out Norchester 4-0.
Dustin Steffenino got things started in the first inning by stealing home on a wild pitch in the bottom of the first inning to give the Warriors a 1-0 lead.
In the second inning, a leadoff single by Grant Templeton let to a bases-loaded single by Jake Breyer that allowed Templeton to score from third to extend the lead to 2-0.
In the third Eric Stalford led things off with a single, followed by a Josh Fell walk and a sacrifice bunt by Tom Aaron. A squeeze bunt b y Templeton scored Stalford to make it 3-0 Warriors.
Then in the bottom of the forth, Levi Stoudt started a rally with a two-out double followed by a single by Breyer, and a single by Stalford that scored Stoudt from third for a 4-0 lead.
The rest of the game was all about defense. In each of the first four innings, Norchester had two runners in scoring position, but each time the Warriors’ defense tightened, holding Norchester scoreless.
The Warrior defense then used double plays to end the fifth and sixth innings. Norchester finished the game with one more stranded base runner in the seventh as the game ended.
Warrior pitchers Tom Aaron and Stoudt combined for the shutout with Aaron completing the first four innings before Stoudt started the top of the fifth inning and finished off the rest of the game.
While the Warriors advanced to the conference final, they eventually lost to Uwchlan later Saturday night, 6-1. But their victory over Norchester qualifies the Warriors for the state tournament, which will begin next Saturday, July 23. They will play their first state game at Southern Lehigh Park in Coopersburg at 10 a.m.