Ian Dinsmore was simply trying to protect the plate.
"It was two strikes and a big situation," said Dinsmore. "He had just surprised me with a curve, but left the next one up and I turned on it."
As the ball blistered the left field fence for a two-run triple, West End was locked in magic. Powered by a five-run sixth inning, the West End team pulled out a 6-1 victory over Mifflin County in the nine-team Babe Ruth 13-15 State Tournament on Saturday evening at Logue Field.
"That was a great game between two friendly rivals," said West End manager Scott Niklaus.
And intense . . .
It was only 1-0 when West End starter David Sanders had to leave the game after five strong innings, his limit of seven innings in two games having been reached. Sanders, who allowed only three hits while registering four strikeouts, never let a Mifflin County runner past second base.
"My curve was really working today," said Sanders, who had thrown a complete game no-hit shutout back in districts. "I felt in control."
The visitor on its home field, West End rode a pair of two-out singles by Anthony Caruso and Bailey Young to a run in the top of the first.
Sanders was replaced for a pinch-hitter in the top of the sixth as West End sent 10 hitters to the plate. Along with Dinsmore's huge triple, West End also had hits by Dominik Bragalone, Marc McClain, Justin Niklaus, and Caruso.
Mifflin County put together a minor rally in the bottom of the seventh with back-to-back hits by Dakotah Schlegel and Hunter Walker resulting in its lone run.
Mifflin County finished with five hits off Sanders and reliever Bradley Walter. It was a far cry from their 33-2 hammering of Brandywine on Thursday.
Knowing MC was a great fastball hitting team, Niklaus went to the crafty Sanders.
"Sanders is a fighter," said the West End manager. "We came to play."
"You have to respect them because they're a really good team," said Dinsmore, "but we were very confident and played fantastic."
Caruso had two of West End's nine hits; catcher Damone Buxton earning three walks while seeing just one strike that he turned into a stinging double up the left field gap.
"I just wanted to hit the ball," said Buxton. "Finally, he threw it down the middle."
West End (1-1) plays Bensalem, a 4-3 winner over Wayne County, this evening at 7. Mifflin County (1-1) comes back this morning at 10 against Wayne County.
The top six teams advance to elimination play next Wednesday.
"I think we've turned the page," said Niklaus, whose team lost to Altoona 10-8 on Thursday. "We played today like I know we can play."
West End 6, Mifflin Co. 1
West End 100 005 0 - 6-9-0
Mifflin Co. 000 000 0 - 1-5-1
WE- David Sanders, Bradley Walter (6) and Damone Buxton; MC- Blaise Roush, Lucas McKay (6) and Matt Lutz. WP: Sanders; LP: Roush.
WE Hitting: Ian Dinsmore 3B; Damone Buxton 2B; Anthony Caruso 2 singles, Justin Niklaus S, Bailey Young S, Dominik Bragalone S, Tommy Baggett S, Marc McClain S. MC Hitting: Lucas McKay 2B; Spade Carter S, Jacob Walters S, Dakotah Schlegel S, Hunter Walker S.