Keystone advances to states

BRETT R. CROSSLEY/For The Sun-Gazette Keystone’s Gardner Fravel holds the Section 3 major baseball championship banner after a 12-0 win over Pottsville as his teammates run with him around the field in Beech Creek on Tuesday evening.

BEECH CREEK –Braylen Corter opened the game up with a home run and Keystone never really looked back as it cruised to a 12-0 win over Pottsville to claim the Section 3 major baseball championship at Beech Creek.

Fireworks were set off as the team did a lap around the field with the Section 3 banner. Fans stayed after the game for pictures as the team posed in front of home plate and took another group shot in front of the scoreboard.

Keystone was once again led by the pitching of Gabriel Johnson, who scattered three hits and tossed four innings of shutout baseball, as he kept Pottsville in check throughout the game. He struck out two batters in the first, third, and fourth innings as Keystone’s defense once again backed a dominant performance on the mound.

“The game plan was if he was rolling we were going to roll with him and he delivered,” Keystone manager Patrick Johnson said. “We wanted to guarantee that we weren’t playing tomorrow. He made the pitches when he wanted and helped get to the win.”

Keystone’s offense was led by Braylen Corter, who hit two home runs and drove in another four runs. He opened the game with a homer and connected with his second in the third to drive three more runs home. He drove in 12 runs in three games over the four-day tournament.

“I guess I’m seeing the ball well,” Corter said. “I try to put the bat on the ball and just get it to go somewhere.”

Keystone scored three runs in the first inning, but exploded for nine runs in the third to put the game out of reach for Pottsville. Corter hit a home run in the inning, Dallas Alexander hit a double, and Connor Foltz hit a home run.

The inning was typical of Keystone, which averaged 11 runs over the course of the tournament. Seven players had a hit in the game and four of the hitters connected with multiple base hits.

Pottsville played a solid game, but an error in the first inning opened the door for Keystone to score more runs. Corter’s home run couldn’t be helped, but the error extended the inning and led to two more runs. It would be all Keystone needed, but it still added runs in the third to shorten the game by 2 1/2 innings.

Pottsville 000 0–0 3 1

Keystone 309 x–12 9 0

Kole Becker and Nolan Ferhat. Gabe Johnson and Gardner Fravel. W–Johnson. L–Becker.

Top Pottsville hitters: Ethan Grabowski 1-2. Top Keystone hitters: Braylen Corter 2-2, 2 HR, 2 runs, 4 RBIs; Connor Foltz 1-3, HR, 3 runs, 3 RBIs.

Records: Pottsville (2-2), Keystone (3-0).

Next game: Keystone vs. Section 6 at Vaughn Park in Berwick, Sunday, 7:30 p.m.