Newberry manager Jonathan Gehr said after the game it was the biggest inning his son had pitched. And before his son, Derek Gehr, attempted to get the final outs of the District 12 Minor Baseball championship, Jonathan walked to the mound and simply gave him some encouraging words.
It worked for the righty, who struck out a batter and forced another into a game-ending groundout to third, securing a 7-5 win over Montoursville and giving the 9 and 10 year olds from Newberry a district title.
Derek Gehr entered the game in the fourth inning after starter Logan Burkett was pulled due to pitch count. And Gehr delivered a solid relief performance, striking out two batters while scattering four hits over three innings.
"I told him to throw strikes," Jonathan Gehr said, as he started to get choked up reflecting on the team's win. "As a father its tear-jerking and he's good at throwing strikes. All I wanted him to do was throw strikes and he did. He did exactly what I asked of him. That was the best and biggest game he's pitched in his life, bottom line."
Derek Gehr faced a Montoursville lineup that was on throughout the entire contest, posting runs in the first five innings before Gehr blanked it to close out the game in the six.
The Newberry defense assisted both pitchers, making diving stops and tough throws across the infield.
In the fifth, after Brandon Good opened with a single, Rashad Brown made a nifty over-the-shoulder catch on a deep fly ball from Jake Simms. A sacrifice fly followed and Gehr got the last batter swinging, stranding the runner at third and preserving Newberry's 7-5 advantage.
"All I asked of them today was to throw strikes and make plays defensively," Gehr said. "We gave up one run over a couple innings, but we had one goose egg and it was when it counted."
Newberry's starting pitcher also pitched his way out of tough situations throughout the day. Burkett loaded the bases to open the second, reaching full-counts against the first five batters he faced. Despite blowing up his pitch total, Burkett responded with two strikeouts, eventually ending the inning with a ground out.
In Friday night's contest it was all about scoring runs in bunches as Montoursville capitalized off a pair of four-run innings, defeating Newberry 9-4 and forcing a second game to determine the District 12 9-10 baseball champion.
"We got our butts handed to us yesterday," Gehr said. "As a whole the team came and played today."
Yesterday, after what seemed to be an unending thunder and lightning storm, Montoursville played a much more consistent game, scoring in the first five frames and answering each outburst by Newberry.
Cameron Wood, a day after tossing a gem to help Montoursville force another game, connected with two singles and a double, while scoring twice and batting another runner home.
Wood setup the team's first run when a routine single into right field turned into a two-base error. CJ Signor, who made a difficult stop at third in the second inning, singled Wood home for the game's first run.
The offense continued for Montoursville with Simms scoring in the second thanks to a lead-off walk and Wood crossing the plate in the third after a leadoff single.
Newberry 300 220-7 5 1
Montoursville 111 110-5 7 2
Logan Burkett, Derek Gehr (4) and Dominic Harding. Logan Ott, CJ Signor (4) and Cole Ranck.
Top Newberry hitters: Dakota Hill 3B; Gehr 2-2, 2B. Top Montoursville hitters: Cameron Wood 3-4, 2B, 2 runs, RBI.