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Muncy’s Ross Eyer among area’s best on the mound in baseball

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Muncy’s Ross Eyer pitches during a game this year against St. John Neumann.

Ross Eyer wanted a second chance. Only one team has hit the Muncy pitcher well this season and Eyer believed that loss against rival Montgomery did not represent who he is.

That second chance came Thursday and Eyer owned it. He proved he was right, too.

Eyer threw a complete-game seven-hitter, struck out seven and threw just 79 pitches, helping Muncy defeat Montgomery, 9-1. Eyer continued his dazzling sophomore season and improved to 5-1. He moved into a tie for first among area wins leaders as surging Muncy (9-1) won its fourth straight game.

“I had my mind set to really try to dominate as much as I could because I had to prove that last game was a fluke. I had to. I had no other choice,” Eyer said. “Playing Montgomery, there’s always extra motivation there. Any time we come here or they come to Muncy it’s always playing our hardest every time. Getting to beat them always feels good.”

Eyer has felt mighty good this season, going 5-1 with a 0.99 ERA in his debut baseball season. That one loss came in the Tri-Towne Classic semifinals when Eyer was pitching on three days rest for the first time. Montgomery scored six runs in two innings and collected four hits.

Take that game away and Eyer has surrendered just 15 hits in 33 1/3 innings. Even more impressive? Eyer has not allowed an earned run in his seven other starts while striking out 58.

He and his fellow freshmen last year missed out on making their high school debuts when COVID-19 wiped out the season. That was a big year of development, lost but Eyer still looks mighty polished. He has thrown three complete games, a three-inning no-hitter and has been a part of three shutouts. He also has struck out at least seven in every start which has lasted three or more innings.

“It was tough because I really wanted to play with Tanner Gold and Christian Good and all the seniors last year because we had been talking about playing together for years. It was tough to lose that experience because you only get one freshman year,” Eyer said. “Now me and the other sophomores are in the same boat as the other freshmen. We’ve never played high school baseball until this year. It was different at first but I think we’re doing a really good job of getting comfortable and settling in and finding what’s good for us.”

Although he did not play high school baseball before this season, Eyer already has played in a lot of big games. An all-state safety last fall, Eyer is a two-year starting wide receiver who has helped Muncy win consecutive District 4 Class A championships while catching 14 touchdowns. Eyer was a force in the postseason last fall and also averaged a double-double during basketball season when Muncy went 14-5.

This is a different sport, but big game competition in any sport can help when playing another. Eyer is pretty callous to pressure-filled baseball situations because he’s already been in so many tense moments before, often thriving in them.

“He’s very composed. He has a really relaxed demeanor which is great, especially with a lot of the situations with which he’s placed,” Muncy coach Chris Persing said. “The expectations on him and some other kids here are always at a high level and he just kind of lets it flow right off. He doesn’t let it bother him. Watching him and talking to him, he just likes playing and being in the moments. Any time he’s in those moments, he really embraces them and enjoys them.”

Eyer never seems to get too high or too low. And, as he has shown in other sports, Eyer possesses a valuable short memory. Instead of dwelling on a rough patch, he moves onto the next play or the next pitch.

That quality has been evident since the Montgomery loss. Eyer responded by throwing six innings of one-hit baseball and striking out 12 in his next appearance, a 13-2 win against Sullivan County. Then came Thursday and Eyer efficiently mowed through a tough Montgomery lineup, stranding seven baserunners and allowing just an unearned run.

Eyer throws hard, but he is a pitcher; not a thrower. He kept Montgomery off-balance by both mixing and locating his pitches well. The best part for Muncy is that Eyer keeps getting better every time he throws and is still young.

“He’s definitely spotting the ball better than he was earlier which we kind of figured would happen as they got more reps,” Persing said. “He might walk a guy on four pitches but he comes back and pounds the zone and takes care of business. He doesn’t let that bother him or mentally bring him down. He competes and he wants the ball.”

That includes in the field. Playing multiple infield positions, Eyer has made just one error in 14 games. He also is hitting .325 with 11 RBIs and 20 runs.

Eyer coveted a shot at redemption against Montgomery. Really, though, his approach was no different than it has been in the 13 other games. An excellent all-around athlete who could conceivably play any of three sports at the next level, Eyer knows first-hand how quickly things can change.

Every game, every practice presents a new opportunity and Eyer is embracing them all.

“Every time we walk out on the field, you walk out with a purpose like it’s your last time being there. You have to,” Eyer said. “With last season not happening, we’re limited. All the sophomores short on games and either seniors and juniors are limited on games in our high school careers. You have to appreciate every moment you’re out there because you never know when it could be it.”

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