Keystone capitalizes on missed chances by Williamsport

Down three runs in the fourth inning with the bases loaded and two outs, Williamsport had a chance to do some damage, close the gap and possibly take the lead against Keystone in the District 12 Majors consolation bracket final.

But Mike Engel got caught between third and home to end the threat, the inning and possibly Williamsport’s chance. It was just one of many missed opportunities for Williamsport in its 12-2 loss to Keystone on Wednesday evening.

Keystone plays Montoursville in the District 12 Championship on Friday at Volunteer Stadium. Keystone will have to win Friday and a tie-breaking game Saturday to win the title.

“It was big, scoring opportunity and we didn’t come up with it,” Williamsport assistant coach Todd McQuillen said. “A 5-2 game, you’ve got bases loaded, a base hit, an infield hit, something in the outfield scores at least one if not two. You got a 5-4 game instead of a 5-2 game. Those kind of plays, teams like Keystone feed off that kind of stuff.”

Keystone capitalized on the missed opportunity in the bottom half of the inning, scoring six runs on four hits and two Williamsport errors.

The first run was scored when Caleb Shade was caught between third and home, nearly identical to the play Engel was caught in, but the Williamsport catcher dropped the ball and Shade was safe. Haiden Heickel followed with an RBI single. Later, Heickel and Evan Conklin scored on an error to make it 10-2.

The game was back and forth early. Williamsport scored the first run in the second when Keystone catcher Tom Pringle threw to second base on an attempted steal and Ethan Williams snuck home for the 1-0 lead. Keystone answered in the bottom half when Dalton Bechdel picked up a run on a throwing error to tie the game.

Williamsport briefly regained the lead in the third when Solomon Grant hit a leadoff, first pitch, line-drive solo home run to left-center field. It was the second consecutive night Grant hit a leadoff, first-pitch home run.

But more Williamsport mistakes in the bottom half of the fourth led to more Keystone runs. Ross Glossner led off the inning with a triple and he scored on a Williamsport throwing error. Two batters later, Pringle hit a two-run home run. After a strikeout, Zane Probst pounded the first pitch for a solo home run which cleared the left-field fence by 20 feet.

The name of this game was missed opportrunites for Williamsport, and Keystone capitalized off those mistakes.

“Anytime you give a team four, five or six outs in an inning instead of the three that they get, your going to concede runs,” McQuillen said.

Despite the five errors by Williamsport, the defense made some big plays. Probst was robbed of a home run in the second inning when center fielder Ethan Williams timed his jump perfectly and saved a run. Also in the second, Engel made a great catch on a line drive hit to save an extra-base hit.

Keystone played a nearly flawless game as it had no errors, nine players reached base and its pitching was dominant at times. Starter Jake Sweitzer threw three strong innings with a deadly curveball which helped strike out four. Shade pitched the final two innings and allowed two hits. It is a perfect time for Keystone to start playing its best as it meets Montoursville in the district title game. Keystone will try to avenge an earlier 13-4 defeat to Montoursville.

“It’s gonna be a struggle,” Keystone coach Kreg Stark said. “Montoursville’s definitely the team to beat. We knew that coming in. They do a great job, pitching, defense, they have the total package. We just need to play our game and see what happens. Just give us a shot at it.”

Williamsport011 00 – 2 5 5

Keystone014 61 – 12 11 0

Jonathan Zayas, Drake Mankey (3rd) and Mankey, Brock Moyer (3rd), Mike Engel (5th). Jake Sweitzer, Caleb Shade (4th) and Tom Pringle. W-Sweitzer. L-Zayas.

Top Williamsport hitters: Solomon Grant 2-3 solo HR; Brock Moyer 2-3 2B. Top Keystone hitters: Caleb Shade 1-1 3 BB, RBI, 2 R; Tom Pringle 2-3 HR, 2 RBI; Zane Probst 1-3 solo HR, 2 R; Ross Glossner 1-3 3B, R; Haiden Heickel 1-2 RBI, R.

Next: Keystone vs. Montoursville at Volunteer Stadium, Friday, 2 p.m.