Midd-West Baseball

Midd-West’s Hunter Wolfley slides safely into second base during a game against Southern Columbia earlier this season. Wolfley is one of the reasons the Mustangs will make their first appearance in the PIAA playoffs since 2005.

Two.

That’s how many wins Midd-West had in the baseball season prior to this one.

It’s how many consecutive championships Montoursville brought to last week’s district title game.

And it’s how many runs the Mustangs beat the Warriors by to claim their first district crown since 2005.

Midd-West was the No. 1 seed in the District 4 Class 4A field, but a majority of the fans at Bowman Field expected mighty Montoursville to have little problem with the upstart from Snyder County.

Mustangs coach Scott Wright thought enough of the perceived disparity to address it with his team.

“We told them, ‘You go out and play with the best, but you put your pants on the same as they do — one leg at a time. Anything can happen,” Wright said after Saturday’s win. “You may not see the swagger in these guys, but they’ve got class and they go out and play hard all the time. That’s what they did.”

Midd-West capitalized on the Warriors’ lone error in a two-run second inning; manufactured another run with its only two hits of the game; and kept Montoursville off the scoreboard for five innings.

The Mustangs relied on two freshman left-handers — Caden Wolfley and Garrett Leitzel — to hold down a team batting .340 for the season. Wolfley struck out five and allowed one run on three hits, while Leitzel fanned one in a hitless seventh. They combined to walk five, but none of the walked batters advanced beyond second base.

“Once (Wolfley) settles down, he can be lights-out,” Wright said. “Then you bring Leitzel in who just pumps speed and has a dandy breaking ball.”

“Those two freshmen ...” Mustangs catcher Brayden Swineford added. “I mean, we have a good pitching crew but they’re two of our top pitchers.”

Wolfley (4-1) and junior Julian Krainak (4-0) lead the team in wins, followed by Griffin Paige (3-3), a sophomore lefty, junior Preston Arbogast (2-1) and senior Logan Rager (2-0). Leitzel (1-0) earned a save in the district final to match Wolfley and Krainak for the team lead.

Montoursville put several good swings on Wolfley pitches, including Nolan Kutney’s leadoff triple in the sixth that led to the Warriors’ only run. However, there were four drives to center field that senior Hunter Wolfley caught, including one he swiftly pursued into the right-center gap.

“If there’s a fly ball or line drive, I know he’s bringing it in,” said Caden Wolfley. “I trust him.”

Left fielder Trey Wagner and right fielder Rager handled their chances, notably Rager’s sixth-inning catch near the foul line.

“I don’t have a problem with anybody hitting any in the outfield anywhere,” said Wright. “All three of our guys can go get them. There’s not a ball that’s usually going to drop out there.”

The Mustangs bashed their way to a 7-1 start by averaging 12.0 runs per game. Although that figure has dipped to 8.8 — District 4 Class 3A finalists Loyalsock and Central Columbia limited them to seven over their last three meetings — their pitching and defense remained solid.

Caden Wolfley and Paige top Midd-West in batting at .463 and .439, respectively. Hunter Wolfley, who bats leadoff, is at .392, while Swineford, who missed a series of games in the middle of the season, checks in at .362.

Caden Wolfley’s 16 RBIs lead the Mustangs, followed by Krainak’s 12 and Swineford’s 10. Hunter Wolfley, Paige and senior Camden Richard are tied with nine RBIs.

Midd-West (16-5) is slated to open state tournament play Monday. It will be just the team’s second game in a three-week span. The Mustangs face the District 2 champion — Wyoming Area (11-6), an 11-0 five-inning winner over Honesdale on Thursday — at a District 4 site.

“These guys, in the last week and a half we haven’t had a game, and it’s been business,” said Wright. “This is a job for them right now, and they’re working as hard as they can to get where they want.

“There’s not a kid out there that doesn’t work their tail off.”

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