Keystone’s major baseball team advances to District 12 championship game | News, Sports, Jobs

KENNY VARNER/For The Express Keystone players talk to their coach during Wednesday’s District 12 winners’ bracket final against Tri-Town of Muncy.

BEECH CREEK – It was a battle of the unbeatens Wednesday night at Beech Creek as the Keystone major baseball Little League all-stars went up against the Tri-Town all-stars from Muncy with a reservation to the championship game Friday night on the line.

The game was a nail biter from beginning to end as Keystone escaped with a 5-3 win to advance to the District 12 major baseball championship game at Volunteer Stadium on Friday at 8:30 pm

After taking a 5-2 advantage going into the bottom of the sixth, Keystone found themselves in serious trouble as Tri-Town was able to load the bases loaded with no out. In came Keystone reliever Blake King.

With ice water in his veins, King struck out the first two batters he faced. Despite getting a run on a past ball, Tri-Town’s luck ran out as King forced a founder to third for the last out and a 5-3 victory.

“They really grinded this out. We started a little slow on the hitting but we had a week off. Their left hander pitched well but we made some adjustments, worked his pitch count, we got on base and score a couple runs there,” said Keystone coach Ben Falls. “We knew two runs weren’t going to win this. So we kept battling and came back there by scoring three.”

The game started out as a defensive battle.

Tri-County starting pitcher Gage Webb went three innings and was able to collect eight strikeouts. In the first, Keystone notched its first run. Luke Nonemaker blasted a shot into left field and teammate Hayes Donley singled in shallow right field, moving up Nonemaker. Kyle Everett loaded the bases as he reached via a walk and King notched an easy RBI walking on a 3-2 pitch. Webb settled in and struck out the next two batters to get out of the inning.

Starting keystone pitcher Kyle Everett kept Tri-Town off balanced in the first, second and third. Keystone upped the lead by one, plating one in the third.

Everett helped his own cause smashing a double into the right field gap. He later scored on an RBI double by Jordan McCloskey, making it a 2-0 contest up until the bottom of the fifth. Kynton Fish led off with a chopper that scooted past second. Chase Bennett made the most of the hit as he sent an offering deep over the wall in centerfield, tying the game at two and adding to the drama.

With one out, Nonemaker roped a single to right field. Donley followed with an infield single. Everett walked to load the bases. Nonemaker took advantage of a wild pitch to batter King, giving his team the lead back. Donley and Everett all followed and scored the same way.

As the dust settled and the game went into the Tri-Town bottom of the sixth, Keystone took back the momentum. Tri-Town rallied early in the inning, loading the bases before Keystone would make the call to the bullpen. Before the inning ended, the home team was only able to score one.

But his coach was proud of how his team rallied back to get back into the game after trailing 2-0 for most of the contest.

“Where we got runners on base, we just wasn’t able to get that key hit. They did. They (Keystone) played a phenomenal game,” said Tri-Town coach Chris Bennett. “Defensively, they caught everything and that was the difference. They got the hits that they needed and we didn’t. But we’re going to be ready for our next game. We’ll be ready.”

Keystone had 13 hits that night. Leading the offensive attack were Ashton Falls (3-for-4), Nonemember (3-for-3, run) and Hayes Donley (3-for-4, run).

Tri-Town finished with five hits, with Bennett’s two-run home run leading the way. Other notching hits were Fish, Sam Springer, Carter Gardner and Corbyn Gardner.

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