Last year's District 12 loss to Brandon must have been something the remaining Montoursville Majors thought about often.
In Friday's contest, Montoursville received a 16-strikeout performance from Nolan Ott and racked up 10 runs on five hits, leaving little room for a Brandon comeback, eventually winning, 10-1.
Montoursville moves into the second round of the District 12 Major bracket to face Hepburn Lycoming at 2 p.m. on Sunday
"All 12 kids did an outstanding job for us today," manager Jason Phillips said. "That's the hardest thing as a manager, having 12 all-stars that all want to play. But this group of kids is great and have bought into the team game."
Montoursville displayed a gritty, team-first attitude, scratching out three runs through the first five innings before finally breaking open a combined no-hitter by both pitchers.
Despite being held without a hit through the first five innings, Montoursville held its 3-0 lead thanks to Ott's efforts on the mound.
In the bottom of the second after Montoursville tagged Clark for two runs in the top of the inning, Ott retired Brandon in order, needing just nine pitches to record three consecutive strikeouts.
"If you can consistently throw strikes I think your team will always be in the game," Phillips said.
The second inning sparked a dominate run for Ott, who mowed down Brandon in order until an error in the sixth with two outs ended his stretch.
"For him to just come in and continue to throw strikes is the key," Phillips said. "It's always a plus to get strikeouts, but having the defense focused and ready is the biggest key for us."
After getting the first two batters with strikeouts, Ott got only three pitches into the next at-bat before a hard grounder was roped back at him. Ott fielded the ball cleanly, and even took a few steps toward first. But the play seemed destined for failure when the ensuing throw bounced off the first baseman's glove.
Montoursville's first fielding error of the day, leading to Brandon's second baserunner, sparked a series of blunders which extended the game by a few outs.
The error was followed by Ott's 16th strikeout, which appeared to end the contest until the home plate umpire ruled the pitch wasn't caught cleanly. Ott, sensing his pitch-count was getting high, then battled back from an 3-0 hole to get a full-count, but lost his next pitch high to load the bases.
Bryce Ranck entered after Phillips grudgingly pulled Ott, sending him off with a handshake and pat on the back.
"When I was pitching I was feeling really good," Ott said. "I was throwing strikes the entire time and only walked one batter and that's good."
Once on the mound, Ranck made quick work of Brandon, needing only three pitches to complete the no-hitter.
Montoursville, which wasn't able to get a hit until the fifth inning, made the most of Brandon's mistakes, taking advantage of two walks and a fielding error to go up 2-0 in the second inning. Brandon committed five errors, four of which resulted in Montoursville runs.
Gabe Phillips opened the second with a five-pitch walk and Josh Dinges followed with another five-pitch walk. Marcus Newfer then connected with a grounder to third, which was fielded cleanly, but thrown over the first baseman's head. Both runners scored, giving Montoursville the early edge.
Clark seemed to settle in after the error, fanning five through the next three innings before being pulled in the fifth. Clark finished with a no-hitter, but gave up three runs on six walks and five errors.
After being no-hit through the first four innings, Montoursville finally broke through after Clark was pulled in the fifth.
With runners on first and second, Ryan Kessler made the most of Montoursville's first hit, blooping a ball over second and scoring Montourville's third run.
As good as the fifth was for Montoursville, getting the team's first hit, the sixth inning finally showed what type of offense it is capable of showing.
Montoursville connected with four hits, all home runs, in the sixth, scoring seven runs to put the game out of reach.
Montoursville 020 017-10 5 1
Brandon 000 001- 1 1 5
Nolan Ott, Bryce Ranck and John McCarthy, Chase Steinbacher. Daimeer Clark, Mikey Taylor (5), Sammy Griffith (6), Jaiden Lynch (6) and Naheim Davis. WP-Ott. LP-Clark.
Top Montoursville hitters: Ott 1-4, GS (sixth inning), 4 RBI; Ranck 1-3, HR, RBI; Ronnie Cochran 1-2, HR; Josh Dingis 1-2, HR.
Next: Montoursville at Hepburn Lycoming, Sunday, 2 p.m.