BOYERTOWN — Ryan Hogan couldn’t execute at the plate during his fourth-inning at-bat with a runner at third base.
“It’s not a good feeling,” he said. “I wanted to come through.”
In the sixth, Hogan delivered the key hit to help his team post a 6-2 win over Northampton Tuesday morning in the first round of the Pa. State American Legion Tournament at Bear Stadium.
His three-run double, which highlighted a four-run rally, snapped a 2-2 tie and lifted Swoyersville (24-1) to a winners’ bracket semifinal round game Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Chris Nixon allowed two runs in 7 2/3 innings to earn the victory the Region 5 champions.
“We’re feeling good,” said Hogan, who finished with two hits. “We’re playing good baseball. We’ve been confident all year.”
Swoyersville took advantage of a Northampton error in the sixth inning to score four unearned runs and snap a 2-2 tie.
Hogan’s double with the bases loaded came with two outs off Northampton relief pitcher Joe Krol. Mike Leonard followed with an RBI single to cap the scoring.
Nixon shut down the opposing offense, allowing just two base runners after the second inning.
“Chris told me he wanted the ball,” Swoyersville manager Sean Toole said. “He deserved it. He’s our ace, and he did a great job.”
Nixon was relieved after reaching his 120-pitch limit.
Northampton, from Region 3, brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning against reliever Logan Zavada. But Zavada struck out Jake Nevin with the bases loaded to clinch the victory.
Swoyersville utilized aggressive base running to score the game’s initial run.
Jeremy Sabecky led off the game with a single, moved to second on a walk and third on a fielder’s choice grounder.
Sabecky scored on a shallow fly ball to center, just beating the throw home.
After leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the first, Northampton went ahead 2-1 in the second inning on a suicide squeeze and an RBI hit by Will Faccenda.
Swoyersville forced a 2-2 tie in the fourth. Gregory, who struck out but reached on a passed ball with one out, eventually came home on fielder’s choice grounder by Chris Lupole with the bases loaded.
“Chris settled in nicely after the first couple innings,” Toole said of Nixon, who walked two and struck out two. “He gave us exactly what we expected from him.”
Swoyersville 100 104 000 – 6 9 4
Northampton 020 000 000 – 2 7 2
Chris Nixon, Logan Zavada (8) and Ben Hogan.
John Scheffey, Joseph Krol (6), Nicholas Fabiano (9) and Tyler Callender.
WP: Chris Nixon.
LP: John Scheffey.
2B: Hogan (S)