Dylan Moll goes 3 for 4 to help Montoursville top Lewisburg in baseball
The COVID-19 pandemic dealt high school baseball players a cruel blow last spring when it forced the 2020 season’s cancellation. It hurt every player, but Dylan Moll especially suffered.
Moll had missed most of his sophomore season with an injury following an excellent freshman campaign which helped Montoursville reach the state semifinals so his was a second season lost. How great Moll felt then Monday afternoon finally playing again.
How happy Montoursville was to have their versatile senior outfielder back as well. He certainly wasted little time making a big impact.
Moll went 3 for 4, reached base four times and drove in three runs as Montoursville defeated visiting Lewisburg, 14-3, in five innings at Giles Field. Maddix Dalena, Nick Reeder and Grayson Rinker combined on a three-hitter and Montoursville scored in each inning as it erased an early 2-0 deficit and started its long-awaited season strong.
“Missing last year was devastating for all of us. Just getting the opportunity to play this year is unbelievable,” Moll said. “With all the adversity we had to go through just to get to this point, it feels great to be back on the field and get a win like we did today.”
Every Montoursville starter reached base and the Warriors effectively moved runners while also taking advantage of eight walks and five errors. After Lewisburg (0-2) scored two unearned runs in the top of the first, Montoursville answered with a five-run first inning.
AJ Llorente, who moved from Florida, made his first Montoursville at-bat a memorable one and hit a game-tying two-run single in the bottom of the first. Moll then started his big day and put Montoursville ahead to stay a batter later, lacing an RBI single into center field.
The next inning, Moll delivered again and ripped a two-out RBI single which scored Nolan Kutney and put Montoursville ahead, 6-2. The senior capped his day by using his explosive speed to beat out an infield single, part of a seven-run fourth inning as Montoursville broke open the game.
Moll can play all over the field, pitch and be a weapon on the bases. He showed all those tools as a freshman and was a four-year starter in football, so Moll certainly is part of a foundation which a relatively young team will try building upon.
“It’s all the hard work that you put in,” Moll said. “You just hope that you’ll get a chance to have the opportunity to get some hits and earn some runs for the team.”
“I’ve always said about Dylan that he’s one of the best pure athletes in the entire area,” Montoursville coach Jeremy Eck said. “He can fly, he has a great arm and there’s things that he can do that a lot of kids can’t. We’re expecting big things from him.”
Dalena did some big things as a freshman in 2019 and will play at Connecticut in 2023. He overcame early control issues and looked strong in his three innings, striking out six, including the side in the second inning on 12 pitches.
Reeder, a junior right-hander, worked out of a bases loaded jam in the fourth inning and kept Montoursville up, 7-3. Rinker a sophomore lefty bounced back strong after allowing two fifth-inning hits and struck out the side while ending the game. So much is unknown right now since many Warriors are playing their first varsity seasons but early indications are that the pitching may again be strong.
“To get Nick Reeder in his first varsity game and see him get out of a jam and for Grayson pound the strike zone, that was good to see,” Eck said. “I have no problem pitching by committee.”
Catcher Heath Jones helped his pitchers with his stellar defense and also went 1 for 1 with two RBIs while reaching base all three times he batted. Jones provided early life when he threw out Kaiden Wagner trying to steal second.
Lewisburg rallied with two outs, scoring two runs on two walks and an error. Had Jones not made his snap throw the damage could have been more severe and the game’s complexion different.
“He’s great behind the plate,” Moll said. “We have 4-5 catchers who can do the same thing and he stood out and he’s making the most of his opportunity.”
Montoursville performed the little things well throughout yesterday’s game and manufactured a fourth inning run without delivering a hit.
Jones was hit by a pitch and Cameron Francis walked before Nick Reeder dropped a sacrifice bunt and Josh Burger hit a sacrifice fly.
An inning later, Montoursville produced another run courtesy of some smart baserunning. With runners on the corners, pinch-runner Cameron Francis purposely was caught in a rundown and his jump made it hard to be caught. While Lewisburg pursued Francis, Marco Pulizzi sprinted from third and stole home, pushing the lead to 10-3.
Little things like that equaled a big season debut.
“That was a good start,” Eck said. “It’s a good group of kids. They want to play for each other and it’s nice to see. It’s refreshing.”
Lewisburg 200 01–3 3 5
Montoursville 511 7x–14 6 1
Max Mitchell, Joel Myers (1), Mark Walsh (5) and Josh Heath, Shea Girton (1). Maddix Dalena, Nick Reeder (4), Grayson Rinker (5) and Heath Jones. W–Dalena, (1-0). L–Mitchell, (0-1).
Top Lewisburg hitters: Kaiden Wagner 1-1, RBI; Tony Burns 1-1; Owen Arndt 1-2. Top Montoursville hitters: Dylan Moll 3-4, 3 RBIs, 2 runs; Josh Burger 1-2, RBI, 2 runs; AJ Llorente 1-3, 2 RBIs, R; Heath Jones 1-1, RBI; Nick Reeder 2 runs, RBI.
Records: Montoursville (1-0, 1-0 HAC-I), Lewisburg (0-2, 0-2).