Montoursville juniors win District 12 title

MONTOURSVILLE?- Allowing 10 hits, four walks and 10 runs isn’t exactly the blueprint for winning a district championship. On Sunday those imperfections were merely obstacles for Montoursville, as they endured the best Loyalsock had to offer and were still able to walk away with a District 12 Junior League championship.

In their third match-up of this year’s tournament, Montoursville beat Loyalsock, 15-10, in a seesaw battle which had five lead changes.

“The Loyalsock-Montoursville rivalry is fun and it’s exciting,” Montoursville head coach Mike Mussina said. “When this tournament started we knew they had a very good team and we felt we had a very good team. The way we played the three games that we played, with the loser scoring 10 runs in each game, it’s just a great rivalry.”

Montoursville jumped out to an early first-inning lead after Caleb Franz smacked a line drive deep to left field, sending Noah Fagnano home from second base.

Unshaken, Loyalsock answered Montoursville by going on a hitting flurry of their own, scoring four runs in the top of the second inning with two outs.

But even in the 90-degree heat, things were just starting to warm up.

After starting the bottom of the third inning with back-to-back fly outs, Montoursville put together a series of five hits, including two doubles, resulting in six runs that put them back on top, 7-4.

That lead would not last long though, as Loyalsock quickly tied the game after scoring three runs in the fourth inning.

After being held scoreless in the bottom of the fourth, Montoursville found their bats again in the fifth inning, batting around to score five runs.

“We got up early with one, they got four, we came back, they came back, we came back again. That’s just how this series has been,” Mussina said.

Down 12-7 in the sixth inning, Loyalsock made one last gasp at a comeback. With runners on first and third with one out, catcher Joey Worth stepped to the plate and sent a ball flying past the chain-link fence in center field for a three-run homer.

“I was kind of hoping we could hold them below double digits, because you can’t assume you’re going to go out there and score a dozen or more runs,” Mussina said. “It’s a baseball game and that doesn’t happen all the time.”

Unfortunately for Loyalsock, those were the last runs they would score in the contest, as four of their next five batters all grounded out.

Just for good measure, Montoursville added three more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, sealing 15-10 victory.

“You have to be able to play the best game possible and make the fewest mistakes possible,” Mussina said. “We only made a few, and they made a few more, so we came out on top.

“It’s the best two out of three, and we got two of them.”

With the win Montoursville moves on to the Section 3 tournament to be held at a District 15 location. Montoursville faces the District 24 champion in the first round Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

Loyalsock040 303 0 – 10 10 2

Montoursville106 053 x – 15 15 2

Michael Stopper, Gavin Reitz (3), Michael Lapoint (5) and Joey Worth. Brycen Mussina, Cole Karschner (4) and Noah Fagnano.

Loyalsock top hitters: Michael Lapoint, 3-4, 2B; Aaron Raemore, 2-4; Joey Worth, 2-4, HR; Michael Stopper, 2B. Montoursville top hitters: Noah Fagnano, 2W, 1B, 2 stolen bases, 2 runs, RBI; Caleb Franz, 3-4; Brycen Mussina, 3-4, 2B, 2 SB, R; Brendan Mutchler, 2-5, 2 runs, RBI; Cameron Hill, 2B, R; Preston Shearer, 2B, R, RBI; Isaac Miller, 1B, RBI.