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Rodgers shines in BT's 2-0 BCABL victory

Remy Pardo crosses the plate for the first run of the game in Butler Township's 2-0 Butler County Area Baseball League Tournament win over Karns City Tuesday night.

ADAMS TWP — Karns City entered the Butler County Area Baseball League playoffs as the highest-scoring team in the circuit.

Scoring runs hasn't been a problem.

Until Tuesday.

Butler Township right-hander Austin Rodgers was dominant, striking out eight, walking just one, and giving up just three hits to stymie Karns City in a 2-0 win at No Offseason Baseball.

“All that mattered was getting the win today,” Rodgers said. “That's really all that mattered.”

Rodgers had everything working — once he adjusted to the temporary mound at No Offseason.

Butler Township officials scrambled to find a site for the game. The club normally plays at Butler High School, but that field was unavailable.

Pullman Park was in use as well.

So it was No Offseason or bust.

“This mound at first was a little slippery and iffy,” Rodgers said. “But once I got used to it, it was fine.

“I've pitched on nothing but dirt (mounds) the whole year,” Rodgers added. “Probably the third inning I started feeling comfortable. I stayed mentally strong.”

It showed.

After wiggling out of a first-inning jam when Ryan Cooper started things off with a double for Karns City, Rodgers didn't give up another hit until the seventh.

From the second inning through the sixth, Rodgers gave up just one baserunner.

“It seemed like we hit the ball well, we just hit it right at them,” said Karns City manager Mike Weigle. “That happens. We've had a pretty good year scoring runs, but tonight it just didn't happen.”

Rodgers has been Butler Township's ace this season and he pitched like one in the first round of the playoffs, to the delight of manager Tyler Friel.

Rodgers got into trouble in the seventh inning when Zach Cooper led off with a single and Mallick Metcalfe doubled to put runners on second and third with one out.

But Rodgers got Logan Sell to hit a weak chopper to third and Jerome Oliver gunned down Cooper at the plate and then ended the game with another groundout to Oliver.

Through it all, Rodgers was calm.

“That's him. That's his mentality,” Friel said. “He knows what to do. He knows the stakes. He trusts his stuff and even in a predicament like that, he's able to bear down, throw the strikes that he needs to get the outs. That's what you expect from your No. 1.”

Butler Township also struggled at the plate at times.

The only runs it needed, it got in the bottom of the third when John Piroch poked a two-run single up the middle to score Remy Pardo and Kevin King against Karns City starter Broc Weigle, who went three innings.

Metcalfe tossed the final three innings for Karns City, striking out three.

“They did what we asked them to do,” said Mike Weigle of his two pitchers. “They got ground balls and our center fielder (Zach Blair) has been just outstanding. He made some great plays again tonight.

“We just gave up two runs and it ended up costing us,” the manager added.

Butler Township will play at No. 1 seed Freeport Thursday.

Karns City waits for the loser of Cranberry-Pine Richland Saturday.

“It was good playoff baseball,” Friel said. “It was a little hectic (getting this field), but it all worked out.”

In other BCABL tourney action Tuesday, Cranberry defeated West Sunbury, 4-2, and Pine Richland defeated East Butler, 10-0.

Karns City 000 000 0 — 0 3 1

Butler Twp 002 000 x — 2 4 1

W: Austin Rodgers 7IP (8K, 1BB). L: Broc Weigle 3IP (2K, 2BB)

Karns City: Ryan Cooper 2B, Mallick Metcalfe 2B, Zach Cooper 1B

Butler Township: Josh Bonetti 1B, John Piroch 2-1B 2-RBI, Braden Marcellus 1B

Thursday: Butler Township at Freeport

Saturday: Karns City in elimination bracket