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Late comeback lifts Fleetwood baseball over Conrad Weiser

The fight Fleetwood showed at Owls Field was indicative of why the Tigers can never be counted out.

Blanked on two hits for five innings by Conrad Weiser on Friday night, Fleetwood rallied in the last two innings to continue its postseason push with a 5-2 Berks Baseball League Division II victory.

Starting the day as the first team out in the wild card chase for the Berks playoffs, Fleetwood kept its hopes alive and solidified its bid for one of 10 spots in the District 3 Class 4A Tournament.

“This game was really big for us,” winning pitcher Liam Hilburt said. “It gives us a lot of momentum going into the last two games. These next two games are huge.”

Hilburt came within one pitch of throwing a complete game as the Tigers (4-5, 10-7) downed the Scouts (2-7, 6-9). But because of the PIAA limit of 100 pitches per game, Hilburt had to be relieved after surrendering a two-out, two-strike single to losing pitcher Evan Rittle in the seventh.

“There’s nothing more I wanted than for him to finish that game,” Fleetwood coach John Chwatek said.

But Hilburt was forced to leave the mound with a 5-2 lead and two runners on. He had limited Conrad Weiser to a run on three hits over six innings before the Scouts touched him for a run on three hits in the seventh.

“It was tough to come out, but I knew Cane could come in and close it,” Hilburt said.

Cane Cromer got the save as he retired the only batter he faced. Second baseman Brayden Sobjak ran down and caught a blooper in short right field for the final out.

Earlier, it was Rittle and the Conrad Weiser defense that stymied Fleetwood. The Scouts led 1-0 through five innings on the strength of an RBI single by Riley Civiello in the third inning and a couple of big defensive plays.

Center fielder Sam Arnold made a diving catch to end the fourth inning to take away a potential game-tying hit. The Scouts also averted damage in the fifth when second baseman Aiden Rodriguez handled a bad-hop grounder seemingly destined for right field and got the middle runner at second base for the second out.

But the Scouts couldn’t hold the Tigers down forever.

Nick Noll drew a leadoff walk to start the sixth and scored on a triple by Nate Seidel that ended the shutout bid and night on the mound for Rittle. Aiden Soumas greeted reliever Evan Miller with another triple to put Fleetwood ahead to stay.

“Our team was nice and calm in that situation,” Hilburt said. “I knew we’d get the bats going late. Our team fights, we never give up.”

The Tigers, who got off to a 7-2 start this season, lost five of six to put their playoff hopes in peril. But the Tigers have shown resilience by defeating Pottsville and Conrad Weiser on back-to-back days.

Fleetwood still has games remaining against Daniel Boone and Muhlenberg.

“We control our own destiny,” Chwatek said. “If we win out, we make counties and we move up in the district. It’s all on us.”

Source: Berkshire mont

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