The writing on the back of the Keystone fans shirts read, "2 strikes. No problem. We battle," and did Keystone ever battle.
Keystone defeated Montoursville 15-11 in 7 innings in the District 12 Minor Baseball championship Tuesday evening at Bruce Henry Park in Loyalsock.
After trailing 6-0 heading into the fourth inning, Keystone scored six runs in the top of the fourth. Then Keystone added two more in the top of the fifth to make it 8-6. But Maddix Dalena countered with a two-out grand slam to right field to give Montoursville a 10-8 lead heading into the sixth inning.
Keystone players mob Rocco Stark after his 3-run home run in the seventh inning vs. Montoursville at Henry Park in Loyalsock. View additional photos at cu.sungazette.com.
But Keystone came storming back with a three-run inning, the go ahead RBI by starting pitcher Zane Probst that made it 11-10. Ryan Kennel led off the bottom of the sixth with a double and eventually scored on a wild pitch to tie it at 11.
Keystone second baseman Colton Wagner belted a single up the middle that scored Brady Williams and gave Keystone the lead for good at 12-11. Then a 3-run home run by shortstop and winning pitcher Rocco Stark extended the lead to 15-11.
Stark finished 4 for 5 with 4 RBIs and 4 runs, and he slammed the door on Montoursville. Stark pitched the final two innings and allowed one hit and struck out 4.
Stark had some help, as starting pitcher Zane Probst was 4 for 5 with 2 RBIs and 2 runs, and both RBIs gave Keystone leads. Probst didn't have a great night on the mound, but he came through in the clutch with some big hits and many of his teammates picked him up.
"Next guy up, help this guy out, pick each other up, and this is a big stepping stone for us," said Keystone manager Craig Stark. "This is what I've been preaching to this team and what the coaches have been preaching. Help each other up when someone else is down because you never know when its your time to shine."
Many Montoursville players shined, including starting pitcher Maddix Delana and catcher Peyton Mussina. Dalena began the game on the mound and he was pitching well. Through three innings he allowed no runs and struck out five. It was the fourth inning where he struggled, giving up 5 runs on 6 hits.
But that didn't stop him at the plate, Dalena finished 3 for 5 with a grand slam. Mussina was also strong at the plate, going 2 for 3 with 3 RBIs while playing some strong defense behind the plate.
Keystone advanced into Section 3 play, which will be held in District 13. Keystone will open on Monday vs. the District 13 champion.
Keystone000 623 4-15 18 0
Montoursville 033 041 0-11 11 2
Maddix Dalena, Rian Glunk (4th), Dylan Moll (5th) and Peyton Mussina. Zane Probst, Colton Wagner (2nd), Landyn Carson (3rd), Kaden Falls (5th) Rocco Stark (6th) and Kaden Falls, Nick Long (4th). W-Stark. L-Mull.
Top Keystone hitters: Rocco Stark 4-5, 3 run HR, 4 RBIs, 4 runs. Zane Probst 4-5, 2 RBIs, 2 runs. Brady Williams 1-1, 2 RBIs, 2 runs. Top Montoursville hitters: Maddix Dalena 3-5, grand slam HR. Peyton Mussina 2-3, double, 3 RBIs. Devin Cochran 2-4, RBI. run.
Next game: Keystone in Section 3 tournament, July 15.