JERSEY SHORE - When the chips were down and with their backs to the wall, Jersey Shore's Junior Legion Post 36 found a way to win.
After getting knocked into the losers' bracket by Beech Creek, Shore came back to defeat the Crickets twice to capture the championship of the West Branch American Legion league.
Fighting through the losers' bracket, Shore downed Beech Creek 5-3 Thursday night before an 11-3 win over the Crickets Friday night to win the title.
With the victory, Shore will now continue play as it advances to the regional tournament which begins July 28 in Shillington.
"We just talked after the game that maybe the best thing that happened to us was that they beat us here on our home field," said Shore manager Steve Welsh. "We lacked intensity in that game (a 3-1 loss), but our kids showed up in Beech Creek last night and tonight here with a lot of intensity. We hit up and down the lineup and when you do that, score 11 runs and get the pitching we got tonight, it makes it easy to win."
Even though his team put Shore into the losers' bracket, Beech Creek manager Joe Caprio knew it was going to be an uphill climb to beat Post 36 for the title.
"I knew it was going to be a three-game series," said BC manager Joe Caprio. "I was hoping to get through in two, but down deep inside, I didn't think that was going to happen. They are a tough team and I knew they would scrap with us and they came out today on their toes and we came on out heels a little bit."
Beech Creek got on the board first with a run in the top of the first inning, but Shore responded to the task at hand by putting up four runs in each of the first two innings to jump out to an 8-1 lead. When that happened, it made things difficult for Beech Creek to come from behind while facing such a large deficit.
The biggest reason the Crickets didn't hit was due to the outstanding pitching of Zach Miller as the right-hander had some of his best stuff of the season. Miller went the distance to pick up the win, allowing the three runs on five hits, walking four while striking out 11 Cricket hitters.
Of the 11 strikeouts by Miller, six came as the third out of an inning to slam the door shut on the Crickets. In four of the six innings, Beech Creek had at least one runner in scoring position.
"That was huge," said Welsh about Miller's ending six innings with a strikeout. "Zach hasn't pitched a lot for us this year because he has been injured, but we amped his innings up for him to pitch a little over the weekend before going the whole game tonight. He really pitched a whale of a game and I am really proud of him."
Beech Creek 100 200 0 -- 3 5 0
Jersey Shore 440 002 X -- 11 10 2
BC: Tony Saltsman, Toner Corl (2), Darrin Masorti (3) and Ethan McGill. JS: Zach Miller and Eric Huling. WP: Miller. LP: Saltsman.
2B: Trey Newcomer (JS), Brody Smith (JS). SH: Haydn Swartwood (JS). SF: Trapper Kunes (BC). DP: Jersey Shore 1.