BUCKTOWN >> As he headed for the dugout during the postgame, Daymond Zweizig received a tap on the shoulder and had the pitch-counter placed in his hand.
“‘That’s it?’” Oley Post 217’s starter said while examining the pitch-counter, which read 92. “‘Wow, I’ll take it.’”
Zweizig was efficient, effective and in control on the mound in leading the Oley Post 217 American Legion baseball team to a 4-1 win over Norchester during the second round of the Berks County League playoffs on Thursday night.
The right-hander struck out eight and walked one over his complete-game effort, limiting Norchester to just six hits on the night. He also finished with a solo home run in the top of the fifth inning, putting the finishing touches on one of his best performances of the season.
“My approach is generally attack, attack, attack,” said the right-handed Zweizig of his mentality on the mound. “I was getting ahead in counts and wasn’t really wasting many pitches.
“I throw a fastball — four-seamer with a hard tail — that I was locating pretty well all night. And I’ve got a curveball and a splitter ... that’s the one that was diving in on the righties. All three pitches were working for me.”
The Patriots (10-9) spotted Zweizig an early lead in the top of the first when catcher Alex Flicker rolled one to second base to plate Tyler Wentzel. In the bottom half, Norchester (14-5) responded as Andy Blum rolled a groundout to first to score Jack McLaughlin from third to tie it up at 1-1.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, though, that would be about it for their offensive generation. Norchester didn’t reach base again until the fourth inning, which ended with a bases-loaded fielder’s choice.
Norchester manager Rick Harrison gave all the credit to Zweizig, who he’d coached at Oley Valley High School during his scholastic years.
“He did a nice job of getting that fastball at eye level with two strikes,” said Harrison. “He wasn’t wasting any pitches, throwing it over our heads — he’s always been pretty good with that.
“We were at 70-some pitches through three innings and he was at 31. That was him being efficient. We want to work fast and work ahead, not have to work from behind. We didn’t do a very good job of that and he did.”
Norchester starter Austin Odell, voted the league’s regular season Pitcher of the Year, wasn’t his usual dominant self Thursday night. The right-hander was tagged for just one hit and three runs — though none were earned — in 3-2/3 innings of work, but walked six while finishing up with 78 pitches.
The Patriots got to him again in the third inning.
With men on second and third, John Harrison grounded out to second base, plating Flicker from third. Then a batter later, Trevor Leamer scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-1.
“The first three runs were unearned, which is frustrating,” said Harrison. “Those left us playing behind. That being said, we’ve got to be able to generate some more runs with our offense to be competitive. We had chances.”
The Bulldogs made their final push in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Blum opened it up with an infield single before third baseman Brian Siket ripped a double down the left field line. After Odell was intentionally walked, Zweizig forced a pop out and a fielder’s choice to get out of the jam unscathed.
“This was by far Daymond’s best pitching game of the season,” said Oley manager Fred Van Gulik. “He’s a senior and he’s been a part of our program since he was 13. He’s a great player and he’s got a great heart for the game.”
With the result, Oley Post advances to face West Lawn, a 9-3 winner over Boyertown, on Saturday at 7 p.m. Norchester will face Daniel Boone in the loser’s bracket, slated for a 1 p.m. start at West Lawn.