HUGHESVILLE - Newberry wasted little time in establishing a lead on Sunday afternoon at the East Lycoming baseball field. Just its fifth batter in, Brandon Loner hit a shot to the shortstop who had a routine throw to the first baseman, but he couldn't field it properly.
The typical 6-3 groundout would have ended the first inning with just one run scored. Instead, it allowed Cody Shimp to score and make it a 2-run game early.
Montoursville responded in the top of the second with an RBI double by John McCarthy, giving Montoursville some breathing room by making it a 1-run game. Unfortunately, that would be the last time Montoursville would make it that close of a game.
Newberry used a huge fourth inning to propel itself into the losers' bracket final on Tuesday with an 11-1 win over Montoursville in four innings in the District 12 Major Boys baseball tournament.
That fourth inning consisted of eight runs, seven hits and saw Newberry go through 13 batters.
"We got a couple hits there to get things rolling and they hit a couple balls that they probably should've caught and they misplayed a little bit and we're lucky enough to have that go our way," Newberry manager Lester Loner said. "We took advantage of it and it worked out for us."
Marcus Neufer started and went 3 1/3 innings on the mound. Neufer kept Newberry off balance through the first three innings, allowing Montoursville to narrow the gap to two runs while Neuffer's arm helped retire the side in the third.
Newberry got into some rhythm in the fourth inning, however, and Montoursville had to go through three different pitchers. All three started lettting emotions show in their play as the deficit kept adding up on the scoreboard in right field.
"We just didn't make some plays and that's the name of the ball game: throw strikes. I think that's when we started struggling a little bit. We're dealing with 11- and 12-year-old kids, emotions start getting in the way a little bit," Montoursville manager Jason Phillips said.
After leading off the fourth inning with a ground out and a walk, Newberry proceeded to collect six consecutive hits, including three doubles, and four RBIs. All nine in the lineup collected a hit in the inning and 11 of the 13 safely reached base before the final run was walked in, enforcing the 10-run rule and ending the game. Newberry had two outs when the final run was walked in.
Montoursville's offense couldn't get any rhythm going against Newberry's Tyler Askey, who went the distance on the mound. Montoursville had just two hits and stranded a runner on base in every inning. Askey's solid pitching and Newberry's defense helped keep Montoursville from doing any damage offensively.
"I think it was a little of both (offense and defense that helped us win). The last inning there we put some runs on the board. Besides that, we had some good defense," Loner said. "That helped us out there on defense and fourth inning, our bats came on."
Newberry made it a 3-1 game in the second inning when Shimp had an RBI double into right-center field, driving home Nathan Welch.
Both Montoursville and Newberry had played games in the losers' bracket yesterday. Montoursville downed defending District 12 champion Keystone while Newberry edged out East Lycoming. Both teams had to use their best pitchers in those games to stay alive and Loner knew that it would come down to which team could make solid plays and get the win.
"They didn't have their (number) one or two pitcher and we didn't have our one or two pitcher, so we knew it was going to be who could make a couple plays," Loner said. "If you could keep the ball and throw some strikes and keep the team in there (you'd win) and fortunately our guy was able to throw some strikes and they struggled a little bit and got a couple hits when we needed them. It worked out for us."
Newberry advances to play Loyalsock on Tuesday in the losers' bracket final at Montgomery.
Montoursville010 0-1 2 2
Newberry210 8-11 11 0
Tyler Askey and Draig Ruff. Marcus Neufer, Isaac Miller (4), John McCarthy (4) and John McCarthy, Charlie Steinbacher (4). WP-Askey. LP-Neufer.
Top Montoursville hitters: Marcus Neufer 1-2; John McCarthy 2B, RBI. Top Newberry hitters: Draig Ruff 2-3, 2 runs; Torren Potts 3-3, RBI, run; Cody Shimp 2-3, 2B, 3 RBIs, 2 runs; Ben Garverick 1-1, run; Brandon Loner 1-3, 2 RBIs, run; Damon Clark 2B, RBI, run; Kyle Caringi 1-2.
Next game: Newberry vs. Loyalsock, losers' bracket final, at Montgomery, Tuesday, 6 p.m.