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Jun. 2—LITITZ — It was a strange feeling for Connor Maryniak to watch the ball float over the left field fence.

A home run? Gov. Mifflin’s ace hadn’t allowed one of those the entire season.

“That’s one of the first balls that got hit off me,” Maryniak said. “I really woke up. I had to zone in and hit my spots after that one.”

Maryniak didn’t allow much the rest of the way. The right-hander struck out 13 and powered No. 8 Mifflin past fourth-seeded Warwick 3-2 in the District 3 Class 6A baseball semifinals Tuesday.

Mifflin (21-5) clinched a spot in the PIAA Tournament and advanced to face No. 2 Wilson for the title Thursday at a site and time to be announced. The Mustangs defeated the Bulldogs two weeks ago for the county championship.

The cozy dimensions of Warwick’s home field were a concern for Mifflin heading into this matchup.

Evan Rohrbach’s towering fly just kept carrying and it pulled Warwick even at 2-2 in the second inning. That jolt was the end of the Warriors’ offense for the day.

Maryniak retired 17 of the final 19 hitters. The senior allowed just two singles over the final five innings. One baserunner was erased on a double play. The other was stranded at second.

“Connor has the best curveball of any pitcher I’ve ever coached,” Mifflin coach Chris Hole said. “It has a tight break on it. He can throw it for a strike whenever he wants. That kept that lineup, which is a very good lineup, off-balance the entire game.”

Mason Woolwine’s two-run single in the first gave Mifflin a quick lead. The outfielder waited on a two-strike breaking ball and ripped it into center.

Mifflin made it 3-2 when Zander Valez knocked in Tyler Minick on a groundout in the third. Warwick played the infield back with runners at second and third and one out. Valez pocketed the free RBI.

A simple grounder to second base proved to be the difference.

“It’s smart baseball,” Hole said. “We do everything we can to get that runner to third base with less than two outs to put ourselves in that situation. Today that run is the one that won the game for us.”

Giving a lead to Maryniak has worked out well for Mifflin over the past two months.

Maryniak became more overpowering as the innings unfolded. He struck out Matthew Williams and Matt Seibert, Warwick’s No. 3 and No. 4 hitters, with the tying run at second in the sixth. Maryniak fanned the first two batters in the seventh on seven pitches.

The final out was Chance Montgomery’s fly ball that landed harmlessly in Woolwine’s glove.

Maryniak said his heart jumped when the ball first left the bat. This field made him a little antsy.

“I pointed up to it,” he said. “Then I was like, ‘That thing might carry out.’ The ball carries very well here. Mason made two great catches for me. That was one of them.”

Maryniak improved to 13-0 and has 133 strikeouts in 84 innings. He broke the school record for wins in a season.

Mifflin has won 12 in a row, a streak that dates to April 28 and has carried the Mustangs through a magical postseason ride.

“It feels great,” Hole said. “As the season has evolved, these boys are playing with more confidence and more focus. Ever since we got into the Berks County bracket through today, we’ve been executing very well.”