Keystone now 2-0 in pool play in state Major Baseball

BRADFORD – For the second time in the All-star season, Keystone was forced to play a suspended game.

It was one thing when the game was in Loyalsock, just 30 minutes from Lock Haven. This time, it was in the Pennsylvania State Little League Championship in Bradford, more than 3 hours away.

The drive, the half-played game, or losing the emotion of playing the first couple innings could have all been reasonable excuses for a team. But this isn’t just a team happy to be playing in the state tournament.

The once three-run advantage Keystone sported for less than 24 hours ballooned to 15-4 victory as it defeated Clarion in the second game of pool play at the Kessel Athletic Complex.

The win gave Keystone a 2-0 record entering the final game of pool play. Keystone will face West Point, which is also 2-0, today at 1 to determine the seeding for Thursday’s West pool play championship.

Keystone’s previous suspended game seemed to pay immediate dividends. The first two pitches of Tuesday’s game resulted in four Keystone runs.

“It helped out a lot,” starting pitcher Aaron Swartz said of going through a previously suspended game. “We took extra (batting practice). We took a few more ground balls and fly balls. We felt a lot more prepared.”

Keystone, which already held a 3-0 lead at the start of the suspended game, started with the bases loaded with two outs in the second inning.

Ross Glossner, who hit a home run in the first game of the tournament, jumped on the first pitch he faced for a two-RBI double. Tanner Spangler then hit a single on his first pitch to score two more runs.

“It’s nice when you get those runs to give yourself a 7-0 lead,” Keystone coach Jim Corl said. “Swartz then comes in and shuts them down.”

In two innings of work, Swartz scattered one hit and posted three strikeouts. He also scored once and added a single in Keystone’s three-run third inning. Asher Corl and Trevor Hanna combined over the final two innings to finish off Clarion.

All three pitchers benefited from a constant stream of runs as Keystone posted a minimum of two runs in each of the four innings.

“We were getting into some pitchers who don’t normally throw for us,” Jim Corl said. “It was important for us to give them a little bit of a cushion. We make it 7-0, then an inning later we make it 10-0. That’s what really helped those guys who don’t throw that often.”

Asher Corl’s first appearance in the All star season was short, lasting only seven batters.

Initially, Corl looked good, getting the first two batters to hit fly ball outs. The next five batters reached base safely though, scoring four runs to get back into the game.

After Trevor Hanna ended the third inning with a strikeout, Keystone responded with five runs in the top of the fourth inning.

“I’m very proud of the way they reacted,” Jim Corl said.

Tanner Spangler started the five-run rally with a single. The next two batters drew walks, giving Zach Eck, who was a special pitch-runner for Tanner Spangler, a chance to steal home when Clarion’s defense wasn’t paying attention.

After the steal, Asher Corl redeemed himself with a three-run home run over the center field fence. Troy Gardner then capped the inning with a solo home run.

Keystone 253 5-15 9 1

Clarion 004 0-4 6 3

Aaron Swartz, Asher Corl (3), Trevor Hanna (3), and Troy Gardner. Clay McElravy, Colby Himes (1), Sterling Conner (2), Ian Callen (4), and Conner, McElravy (2).

WP–Swartz. LP–McElravy.

Top Keystone hitters: Asher Corl 1-2, HR, 4 runs, 3 RBI; Gardner 3-4, 2 HR, 2B, 3 runs, 5 RBI; Ross Glossner 2B, run, 2 RBI. Top Clarion hitters: Callen 3-3, run; Curvin Goheen 2B, RBI.

Next: Keystone vs. West Point, today, 1 p.m. Clarion vs. Huntingdon, today, 10 a.m.