Despite facing turnover every year, Keystone and Loyalsock Little Leagues have built quite a rivalry in the District 12 Major Baseball division.
The two teams have determined the district champion in two of the last three tournaments - with Keystone winning each time - and the two powerhouses met again Tuesday night in the opening game for each team.
After giving up a late lead, Keystone needed a Ross Glossner three-run, walk-off home run to down Loyalsock, 4-3.
CONRAD SHANK/Lock Haven Express
Keystone pitcher Ross Glossner prepares to release a pitch against Loyalsock during Tuesday’s District 12 Major Baseball game at Loyalsock.
Glossner, who also pitched four-plus solid innings, came to the plate in the final inning with two outs and two runners on base.
Prior to the at-bat, Keystone coach Craig Stark spoke with his soonto-be-hero.
"Going to this tournament we knew he would be our team leader and number one guy," Stark said. "He had the experience and shined in the spotlight."
Stark stressed to Glossner the importance of letting his previous at-bats go. Before coming up in the sixth inning, Glossner was hitless.
"He struggled in his at-bat before and I told him he was too good to let it bother him," Stark said. "He just went up there and put a good swing on it. It's just normal for that kid."
Glossner was mobbed by his teammates after hitting the game-winner.
Glossner pitched into the fifth inning but gave way to Jake Sweitzer after allowing three runs.
In his four-plus innings, Glossner fanned nine. After giving up his first walk in the opening inning, Glossner retired eight consecutive batters.
After entering the game in the fifth, Sweitzer ended the inning with a strikeout. He then retired Loyalsock with three more strikeouts in the sixth.
"We had a few breakdowns in the game, but we'll fix that," Stark said. "This team is starting to buy into the team aspect of things and that's just good to see."
Alex Stopper and Reese Salvatori opened the fifth inning with singles for Loyalsock. Glossner picked up a strikeout, but Dave Armson gave Loyalsock its first lead with the inning's fourth single. A groundout to shortstop scored Loyalsock's final run before Sweitzer entered to end the inning.
"We were up most of the game and just made one mistake at the end that cost us," Loyalsock coach Keith Armson said. "The key for us offensively was just being patient."
Loyalsock 000 030-3 4 0
Keystone 100 003-4 5 0
Dave Armson, Reese Watkins (3) and Cooper Lytle. Ross Glossner, Jake Sweitzer (5) and Tom Pringle. WP: Sweitzer. LP: Watkins.
Top Loyalsock hitters: Simone Mileto 1-3, RBI. Top Keystone hitters: Rocco Stark 2-3, 2B, run; Glossner HR.
Records: Keystone 1-0, Loyalsock 0-1.