Playoff high school baseball can be ruthless.
The knockout-style tournament means you have to bring your best every game and hope that the opponent doesn’t do the same.
Unfortunately for Biglerville, that wasn’t the case in Tuesday’s District 3-3A opener against visiting Brandywine Heights.
Bullets’ ace Chase Renner, who will continue his career next season at Penn State University, was excellent and his offense gave him more than enough help as the fifth seed ousted the fourth-seeded Canners, 10-0 in five innings.
“Well, we ran into a buzzsaw today. That’s for sure,” Biglerville coach Jeff Taylor said of Renner. “He’s the real deal and the first inning we had a couple errors that kind of set the tone for the whole game.”
Brandywine (14-5) seized control early on with four runs in the top of the first inning on two hits, two walks, two errors and a hit by pitch against Canners’ starter Logan Brewer.
“That’s the best, when you get an early lead,” Renner said of the run support. “Because it takes a little bit of pressure of you as a pitcher. You don’t have to go out there and be perfect. You know if they score a run you can go ‘hey if they score a run, it’s just one run.’ So it’s nice to get an early lead.”
Renner, who came into the game with a 0.70 ERA in eight appearances and hit 92 mile per hour on the radar gun in the first inning, struck out the side to start his outing and keep his team up 4-0 headed to the second.
“When the wheels fall off the wagon it’s tough, and all four fell off today,” Taylor said of the start. “It was tough. It was an uphill battle the entire time.”
Renner helped his own cause with a sac fly to make it 5-0 after the top of the second and then struck out two more in a scoreless bottom half.
The visitors, for all intents and purposes, put the game away in the top of the third. Joe Crist drove in two with a single to right to make it 7-0 with none away and the Bullets tacked on two more to chase Brewer from the mound after 2 1/3 and take a 9-0 lead.
“We’ve got a young team and I think with the fact that it’s district play, some of the guys were a little jittery today,” Taylor said of difficult start. “But it was a good experience overall.”
Gage Bishop worked a walk to give the Canners (13-7) a base runner in the bottom of the third but a pair of fly outs stranded him at first.
Brandywine continued the barrage in the fourth, adding another run on a Chad Maggs single to push the lead to double digits and bring the mercy rule into play.
While Connor Orner’s single to start the bottom of the fourth broke up the no-hitter, the Canners couldn’t move him over. After a scoreless top of the fifth, Renner finished the game in style with a pair of punchouts as part of a 1-2-3 frame to end the game.
The final line on the future Nittany Lion was five innings pitched, no runs, one hit, nine strikeouts, one walk and one hit batter. The Bullets will now travel to top-seeded Oley Valley on Thursday for the semifinals.
Orner notched the lone hit for Biglerville, while both Bishop and Austin Black also reached base. Eli Weigle was strong in relief, allowing just one run on two hits in 2 2/3 innings pitched. The Canners finish their season with a third straight division title and at six games over .500, something Taylor says is a definite success.
“I think most everybody felt if we had a .500 season we’d be doing pretty good,” he said. “And here we are 13-7 now, so I’m very proud of these guys and I think we had a very good season.”
Clay Sauertieg can be reached at email@example.com
Brandywine Heights 10, Biglerville 0
Brandywine Heights 414 10 — 10 7 0
Biglerville 000 00 — 0 1 5
Logan Brewer, Eli Weigle (3) and Tyson Taylor. Chase Renner and Trey Shive. WP: Renner. LP: Brewer. SO-BB: BH-Renner 9-1; B-Brewer 1-4, Weigle 1-3. 2B: BH-Shive, Jesse Breunig.