---- — By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
NEW BERLIN -- For Shik-Acorn, scoring late was better than not scoring at all.
Not that the third inning is late in the game, but with the way the Shik-Acorn offense erupted from the third frame on, it felt much later.
After the second inning, some switch in the minds of the Shikellamy hitters turned on, as at least two runs crossed the plate in the last five innings in a 15-4 Shik-Acorn rout over Mifflinburg in the District 13 Junior Little League tournament.
The Braves seemed to improve as the game wore on, scoring seven runs over the last two innings to put the game out of reach.
"Nate Dealy, Trey Cunningham, they all hit the ball well," Shik-Acorn manager T.G. Fasold said. "Very good defense, good offense. Nice team."
Despite the final score, the game could have been closer but Mifflinburg was able to take advantage of scoring opportunities on a few plays. Mifflinburg manager Michael Haines acknowledged the youth of his team and said that he saw improvement from his players.
"(My players) played a lot better than they did last year," Haines said.
In the first two innings, it appeared as if Shik-Acorn had trouble staying in the game defensively as Mifflinburg got to Logan Kern on the mound, forcing him to labor in the second inning.
However, Kern limited the damage in the frame by allowing two runs despite watching the opposition nearly bat around. From that point forward, Shik-Acorn started to turn the tide quickly.
With the top of their lineup walking to the batter's box for the second time, Shik-Acorn was ready to hit in bunches. A lead-off single by Trey Cunningham was followed by Brendon Herrold reaching safely on an error.
The miscue proved costly as Logan Kern caught a pitch in the sweet spot, drilling the ball to the left-center gap for an RBI double to tie the game at two.
After Kern scored, two singles sandwiched by a walk loaded the bases, but Meyer escaped further damage with a pop up.
While Kern exited after two innings, Dealy picked up where Kern left off for Shik-Acorn.
Kern settled into a groove late into his work on the mound and Dealy found similar success once he had a few pitches under his belt.
Dealy started on the mound with a strikeout and after a walk with two outs in the third, he struck out the next three hitters he faced, with the final out of the third and the first two outs of a perfect fourth coming via punch out.
"Dealy did a good job," Fasold said.
Before Dealy pitched his perfect frame, a combination of defensive miscues and two-out hits spelled a two-spot for Shik-Acorn. Dylan Harry and Zach Hummel hit back-to-back singles to stretch the lead to 6-3.
The struggles defensively for Mifflinburg led to Jacob Erb leaving the mound after four innings despite allowing only two earned runs.
After Dealy shut down the Wildcats offense for three shutout innings, Herrold toed the rubber to finish the job in the sixth and seventh innings.
Dan Marks reached safely for the Wildcats with a two-out single, but Herrold responded with his second strikeout of the inning to head back to the dugout.
The Wildcats showed their ability to keep fighting regardless of the score, pushing two runs across in the final frame but it was too little, too late.
Herrold faced pressure recorded the final three outs but struck out Kenny Shirk to end the game.