Fravel blasts Keystone to D12 9-11 Baseball title

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Keystone teammates mob Elek Fravel, middle, after he hit a 3-run home run in the first inning Saturday at Volunteer Stadium.

The first time Elek Fravel stepped into the batter’s box Saturday afternoon, everybody knew his capabilities. The crowd drew silent and the opposing pitcher became nervous. The Keystone third baseman has done damage to the Montoursville pitching staff in the past and Saturday was no exception.

Fravel blasted a first-inning 3-run home run to lead Keystone to a six-run first inning en route to an 11-1 four-inning win over Montoursville Saturday afternoon in the District 12 9-11 baseball final at Volunteer Stadium.

“You want early runs to get some momentum and then when you mash it 250 feet, it’s even a little more exciting,” said Keystone manager Scott Fravel. “Not just over the fence but over the tree line, that sets the tone for the day.”

“We’re just happy to get here. We’re fortunate where we live if you get to the district final that you get to play here (at Volunteer Stadium),” said Montours­ville manager Mark Mussina. “So that was always a goal. We know Keystone’s tough. They’re kind of the team to beat. We knew if we finished higher than everybody but Keystone then it’s a pretty good tournament.”

Montoursville took the early lead in the game on an RBI double from Jayden Wilson but Keystone took immediate control in the bottom half of the first inning as Gardy Fravel led off with a four-pitch walk then Nathan Wian brought him home on an RBI double. Brady Myers followed with a walk and up came Elek Fravel.

But before Fravel could reach the batter’s box, out from the Montoursville dugout came Mussina to meet with his pitcher, reminding him what kind of threat Fravel is because the last time these two teams faced off, Fravel had two home runs. On the 2-2 count, Fravel lifted the shot to deep center field over the fence that read 225 and over the bushes behind the fence as Keystone took the 4-1 lead.

“We call him Big E. He swings the big bat and we have hitters behind him that protect him,” Scott Fravel said. “You walk him, base hit; the next kid hits a double. So he’s protected as well so you have to pitch to him.”

The big first inning for Keystone didn’t end there as the next three batters reached and two more runs scored on Gavin Burnell’s RBI double and a RBI groundout from Gardy Fravel. The inning ended with Keystone leading, 6-1. They sent 11 batters to the plate and the first seven reached and they already put five runs up on the board before recording the first out.

Keystone scored just one more run in the second and third innings before ending the game in the bottom of the fourth on RBI’s from Cayden Culvey and Kevin Grenninger. Wian ended the game with his two-run single to shallow right field.

“The kids are swinging the bats real well right now,” Scott Fravel said. “We work hard in practice on the fundamentals of hitting, hitting the ball back to the middle and picking a good pitch out. They do a nice job of that and it’s fun to watch.”

Keystone starting pitcher Brady Myers earned the complete game win while striking out three and giving up just two hits. After the first inning, he allowed just three base runners, none of which reached second base.

Montoursville 100 0- 1 2 0

Keystone 610 4- 11 8 1

Jayden Wilson, Elias Eck (1st), Avery Dietrick (4th) and Tyler Levitze. Brady Myers and Gardy Fravel. W- Myers. L- Wilson.

Top Montoursville hitters: Dylan Bower 1-2 R; Jayden Wilson 1-2 2B, RBI. Top Keystone hitters: Nathan Wian 2-4 2B, 3 RBI, R; Brady Myers 0-1 2 walks, 2 R; Elek Fravel 1-2 3-run HR, IBB; Connor Foltz 2-3 RBI, 2 R; Kevin Grenninger 1-1 RBI, R.