By Anthony Mitchell
The Daily Item
MILTON -- Andrew Leitzel was starting to find a rhythm, but with Mifflinburg cradling a slim lead in the fourth inning a mistake on the mound could have tied the game.
So Leitzel helped his own cause, ripping an RBI single to give himself some breathing room and spark Mifflinburg's offense.
Mifflinburg beat Milton, 8-1, in a West Branch Division tilt at Veterans Memorial Park on Friday behind the pitching of Leitzel and Marcus Benfer and a slew of base knocks.
Leitzel stayed patient at the plate, fouling off a pair of pitches to stay alive before finding a pitch to his liking -- the seventh offering of the at-bat -- and sending it into right field.
"I was just up there trying to hit it the other way," Leitzel said. "Just trying to make contact."
Leitzel went back to the mound with a two-run lead and pitched a hitless frame before giving way to Benfer. Leitzel struck out six and allowed a pair of hits, with a sacrifice fly in the second inning the only mark against Mifflinburg pitching.
Benfer pitched three scoreless frames to finish the victory, getting the nod in relief after showcasing his talent in practice for a staff that hadn't see him pitch before the American Legion season.
With their hurlers putting zeroes on the scoreboard, Mifflinburg's offense responded with nine hits from eight hitters.
"It was teamwork -- everyone was involved," Mifflinburg manager Steve Buttorff said. "It was great. That's where we struggled the past couple games. We (had) struggled stringing hits together."
Mifflinburg's offense was hitting the ball to all fields but small ball provided a threat with two men on and no outs in the fifth. A pair of walks to start the inning and a sacrifice bunt led to an error. A quick throw from Milton's Daniel Bridge cut down a run at the plate, but Mifflinburg did not leave the inning empty-handed. Trey Smith came to the plate and quickly capitalized, blasting a ball back through the middle to bring home a run.