Ben Bretzman just wrapped up his high school career on Monday when Biglerville saw its season end in the first round of the PIAA playoffs, but the big right-hander was back on the mound after just three day’s rest on Friday.
Making his South Penn League debut, Bretzman went the distance to lead the Black Sox to a 5-3 victory over Gettysburg at Oakside Community Park.
“I felt pretty loose and rested, to be honest,” Bretzman said. “I’m used to pitching on three day’s rest. I did it for most of the high school season.”
Bretzman threw 71.1 innings this season for the Canners, and while Black Sox manager Travis Byers had seen him pitch before, he wasn’t sure what he would get out of the rookie.
“I thought Ben would be good tonight, but not as good as he was,” Byers said. “He held his velocity all night and seemed to get stronger as the game went on.”
The righty went the route on 94 pitches, 59 of them strikes and allowed one earned run and three hits with 11 strikeouts and two walks.
“My fastball was really working early and then my curveball started to work later in the game,” Bretzman said. “These guys are more disciplined hitters than high school players are and you have to throw strikes against them.”
Gettysburg (2-9-1) threatened in the first with two on and one down, but Bretzman induced a double play ball out of Dan Dennison to escape trouble, part of run that saw him record nine straight outs with six of them being punch-outs.
Biglerville (6-7) got on the board in the second when Bo Redding was hit by a pitch to force home a run, before an error allowed Colby Smith to reach, plating another run in the process.
A double steal by Noah Ayers and Paul Asper — with Ayers coming home from third — in the bottom of the third bumped the advantage to 3-0.
The Grays got back in the game in the fourth when Brandon Harman’s grounder scored a pair of runs. Cory Rice, who had doubled, scored and Dennison came home on a throwing error following the put-out.
Ayers’ triple plated Tucker Byers in the fifth and Ayers completed his trip around the bases on a throwing error.
That spelled the end of the night for Gray southpaw Sam Shea who went four innings and allowed five runs (one earned) and two hits with four walks and no strikeouts.
“Sam pitched well against these guys twice last year, but he didn’t have a feel for his breaking stuff tonight,” Gettysburg manager Jesse Kraft said. “He battled, but our defense let us down.”
Gettysburg drew to within 5-3 in the seventh when Dereck Ivey grounded out, but Bretzman retired the following hitter on a ground ball to end it.
“We played a little sloppy tonight, but we stuck together as a team and kept battling,” Kraft said. “We were missing a key hit or two that could’ve made a difference.”
Biglerville returns to action when it welcomes Cashtown for a doubleheader on Sunday starting at 1 p.m. Gettysburg’s next contest is at home when it hosts New Oxford on Monday at 6 p.m.
Follow Tom Sixeas on Twitter at @TomSixeas
Gettysburg 000 200 1 — 3 3 4
Biglerville 021 020 x — 5 3 2
Sam Shea, Dereck Ivey (5) and Ian Van Anden, Austin Ivey (6); Ben Bretzman and Tucker Byers. WP: Bretzman. LP: Shea. SO-BB: Shea 0-4, Ivey 4-2; Bretzman 11-2. 2B: G -Corey Rice. 3B: B-Noah Ayers.