BRADFORD - Any thoughts of a slow start by the Keystone Major Baseball team were quickly forgotten after Ross Glossner connected with his third home run in two games.
Glossner's bat proved to be the difference in Keystone's Section 3 championship win and it was the difference again on Sunday during Keystone's 13-1 win over Section 4 champion Huntingdon in the opener for both teams at the Pennsylvania Little League state championships at the Kessel Athletic Complex.
The win sets Keystone up for a contest against Clarion at 7 p.m. today at the University of Pittsburgh in Bradford.
Glossner, who finished with two home runs in Keystone's 25-2 romp over Cressona in the Section 3 final, jumped on the third pitch of his first at-bat.
The ensuing home run over the left-field fence gave Keystone its first two runs of the game. It also sparked a nine-run, second-inning rally to put Huntingdon on its heels.
"He's the only 11-year-old on the team, and when he gets up there he's just unconscious. He doesn't even know what day it is half the time," Keystone coach Jim Corl said with a big smile on his face. "He's just says, 'give me a fastball and I can hit it'. That was the biggest hit of the day."
Keystone jumped on four second-inning errors by Huntingdon. It also received a three-run home run from Troy Gardner and a two-RBI single by Tanner Lavelle.
"You have the older kids in there, and the little guy (Glossner) is doing it. They just fed off Ross today," Corl said. "It was big stuff."
Keystone also received an offensive boost from starting pitcher A.J. Smith, who struggled in the final two games of the section tournament.
Smith finished with two hits in the game, reaching on a single before Glossner's home run and later scoring after opening the fourth inning with a single.
"It's really big for him, because he was really struggling in sections," Corl said. "He pitched well over that time, though. He really battled through it, and came up with two big hits today."
Smith picked up the win, striking out four and retiring four consecutive hitters to bridge the first and second innings.
It wasn't until Keystone had a 12-run lead that Smith ran into any issues.
Huntingdon opened the third inning with three straight singles to load the bases as Smith struggled to find his focus. Seeing his pitcher was in trouble, Corl called timeout to help Smith regain his composure.
"He was up 12-0 at the time, and you could tell he was relaxing a little bit. When you're in a tournament like this you can't relax. If you start letting up they are going to tee-off on you," Corl said. "I just told him to lock in and finish the game off, which he did a very nice job of."
Smith regrouped to get the next three batters out.
After Smith got the first out of the fourth inning, Tanner Spangler entered to get the final two outs.
Keystone 13, Huntingdon 1
Keystone 093 1-13 12 0
Huntingdon 001 0-1 4 7
A.J. Smith, Tanner Spangler (4), and Troy Gardner. Ryan Brumgardner, Ryan Brechbiel (2), Ian Border (3), Draven Zook (4), and Andrew Finkle. WP-Smith. LP-Brumgardner.
Top Keystone hitters: Gardner 2-3, HR, 2 runs, 4 RBI; Aaron Swartz 2-3, run, 2 RBI; Smith 2-3, 2 runs; Ross Glossner HR, run, 2 RBI; Tanner Lavelle 2-3, 2 runs, 2 RBI.
Next: Keystone vs. Clarion, today, 7 p.m. at the Kessel Athletic Complex at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.