BEECH CREEK - Jim Corl shared a brief laugh with Austyn Carson's father prior to Friday's District 12 opener with Nippenose Valley.
The Keystone Major manager told Carson's father about how his son, Asher, opened up the Little League regular season with a leadoff homer for his squad, JC Forestree.
JC Forestree won the Keystone regular-season title with an unblemished mark.
Now, Carson's dad has some bragging rights of his own.
The Keystone all-star shortstop drove the second pitch of the all-star season over the center-field fence, and the defending state champs didn't stop from there - racking up 20 hits and three home runs in a 24-4, four-inning victory in Beech Creek.
Keystone faces Newberry, a 9-7 winner over Jersey Shore/GSV, on Sunday.
Really, Carson's long ball set the tone.
He watched the first pitch from Christian Tawney right down the heart of the plate. The next one didn't hit the catcher's mitt. Instead, it whacked the wooden green bleachers on the other side of the outfield fence.
"I talked about it with Carson's dad. I told him about Austyn leading off the all-star season with a homer, and what happened with JC Forestree. And it's amazing because Austyn did it today. That was so huge for us," Jim Corl said.
If there were any jitters for the Keystone boys, it sure didn't show.
Up 2-0 after the first, Keystone sent an amazing 17 batters to the plate in the second, racking up 10 hits and scoring 12 runs.
"You can still see that we had some jitters, but the kids were just barreling it up," coach Corl said. "They fed off each other today. One kid gets a hit, and it just passes down the lineup and throughout the order. Everyone was excited to play."
Every Keystone starter had a hit - including a 4 for 5 day for No. 5 hitter A.J. Smith, who also drove in five runs.
"It felt pretty good. It was really nice to start the all-star season with a win," Smith said. "It felt good to get the bat going."
Smith also picked up the victory, tossing 2 2-3 innings with four strikeouts. He allowed all four runs in the third, including a three-run homer by Wyatt Lorson to straight-away center.
"We didn't want to throw him past his limit because we wanted everyone available for Sunday," Jim Corl said. "That's why we kind of pulled him out. He left a few pitches up in that one inning, and that one boy got a nice swing on it sending it out of the park."
Keystone tacked on seven runs in the third on consecutive RBIs by Asher Corl, Ethan Watkins, Aaron Swartz, Smith and Trent Rickert.
"I told the kids they did an awesome job," Jim Corl said. "That's the way you hit the baseball. If you hit the ball, good things are going to happen. We had one hiccup in the third, but it was all good."
Nippenose Valley coaches declined comment following the game.
Keystone 2(12)7 3 - 24 20 1
Nippenose 004 0 - 4 4 9
A.J. Smith, Jake Conklin (3), Ethan Watkins (4) and Asher Corl. Christian Tawney, Brandon DePasqua (2), Wyatt Lorson (3), Eli Willits (4) and Wyatt Lorson, Koby Peacock (3). WP - Smith. LP - Tawney.
HR: K, Austyn Carson, Watkins, Trent Rickert. N, Lorson. 2B: K, Carson, Corl, Smith. MH: K, Smith 4, Corl 3, Watkins 3, Rickert 3, Carson 2, Aaron Swartz 2.
District records: Keystone 1-0, Nippenose 0-1.