Ross, Stiles Eyer lead Muncy baseball, 9-1 over St. John Neumann
MUNCY — Ross and Stiles Eyer played a lot together growing up. But playing in the backyard is not the same as being teammates.
Ross being two years older than Stiles prevented the brothers from playing on the same Little League and junior high teams. Finally, though, the brothers are wearing the same uniform; competing for the same team.
And what a performance they delivered Friday. What a moment those two produced which they and can savor as they grow older.
Ross and Stiles Eyer combined on a three-hitter and allowed no earned runs as Muncy defeated defending Mid-Penn champion St. John Neumann, 9-1 on a cold, blustery Friday afternoon. Ross threw four innings and struck out 10 to earn the win while Stiles threw three hitless innings and surrendered just an unearned run, earning a long save and helping Muncy (2-0, 2-0 Mid-Penn) hand Neumann (0-1, 0-1) its first league loss in two seasons.
“We’ve been talking about this day for years. Even through Little league and stuff we were never on the same team because there was that age gap,” Ross said. “Now we’re on the same team pitching in the same game. I start and Stiles closes it for me; it’s an awesome feeling.”
“It was pretty fun because with the work he put into start the game, I had to put that much in to finish it,” Stiles said. “Pitching with my brother was something that was really fun to do.”
Ross helped his cause, going 2 for 4 with a double and three RBIs. His two-run double was part of a five-run first inning as Muncy quickly grabbed control. The junior right-hander picked up where he left off last season when he went 6-1, taking a no-hitter into the third inning and striking out multiple hitters in all four innings he pitched.
Ross twice fanned the side and left two runners on in the first inning. He did not let a runner advance past second and opened the game with 3 1/3 no-hit innings before surrendering a swinging bunt single in the fourth inning.
Stiles made his high school debut Tuesday at Sugar Valley and made the most of his first expanded mound time, taking over for his older brother in the fifth inning. Stiles efficiently worked through Neumann’s lineup, walked none and let his defense work behind him.
Maybe fittingly, Ross helped his brother finish the game when he snagged a line drive at third base.
“I’m over there at third base, constantly coaching him up when he’s pitching and he’s coaching me from the dugout. We coach each other up all the time because we know we can see what each other is doing wrong,” Ross said. “That’s one of the big perks of having a little brother or older brother on the team. We’re always going to be completely honest and tell you what you need to do to get better.”
Stiles has learned from watching Ross during his debut sophomore season a year ago. Despite Muncy making two errors, Stiles stayed poised. He also did not let a strikeout at the plate impact his performance on the mound, quickly flushing that before going out and continuing to mow through the order.
Combine that with his skill set and already having two pitching performances in his first two high school games and Stiles is making a quick impact just like his brother did last spring.
“It showed me a lot because seeing the way he reacts to different situations helps me understand the way I should react,” Stiles said. “That last inning when I balked, I had to stay calm. I know that from watching him.”
“To get him in both games and see the way he has responded is exciting for us,” Muncy coach Chris Persing said. “He has shown some good maturity and focus. He doesn’t let other things impact how he pitches and that’s a really positive sign.”
So is the way Muncy hit throughout the first inning.
The Indians pounded out six hits during that five-run inning. They laced three RBI hits to the opposite fields and turned good practices into excellent approaches. Branson Eyer (2 for 2, three runs) opened the game after being hit by a pitch before Kaydn Berry singled and Ross Eyer scored both with his double.
Following a Noah Confer single, Alex Maioriana and Braydon Kamerer delivered RBI singles before Branson capped the flurry with an RBI single. At that point, Muncy was 5 for 5 with runners in scoring position.
“That was big. We hit some balls hard and that jump started the offense and got us fired up,: Persing said. “When it’s cold like this just sitting there in a 0-0 game in the fourth, it’s a little different than being up 5-0. It doesn’t feel quite as cold. We had a really good mindset at the plate and that kind of propelled us for the next six innings.”
Neumann has had just three full outdoor practices as a complete team and played no scrimmages since most of its team was on the state finalist basketball team whose season concluded just eight days earlier. Still, the Knights showed promise a year after capturing their first District 4 Class A championship.
JerVal Weeks-Shuler was dominant in relief, throwing four hitless innings and striking out nine. Freshman Chase Wright also threw a quality inning of relief and Weeks-Shuler, Ryan Thompson and Mark Roman all had hits.
“We gave them everything we had. Outside of the first inning it was a really good game,” Neumann coach Cory Burkholder said. “To come out and battle a first-class team team like Muncy the way we did, I thought was a really good job. We competed well and it gives us a lot to build off of.”
Neumann 000 000 1–0 3 2
Muncy 500 112 x–9 7 3
Kane Wright, JerVal Weeks-Shuler (2), Chase Wright (6) and Aiden Vogt. Ross Eyer, Stiles Eyer (5) and Braydon Kamerer. W–R. Eyer, (1-0). L–Wright. SV–S. Eyer.
Top Neumann hitters: Weeks-Shuler 1-2, Ryan Thompson 1-2; Matt Roman 1-2. Top Muncy hitters: Branson Eyer 2-2, RBI, 3R, 2SBs; R. Eyer 2-4, 2B, 3 RBIs; Alex Maioriana 1-3, RBI, R; Kamerer 1-2, 2 RBIs; Noah Confer 1-3, R; Kaydn Berry 1-4, 2R.
Records: Muncy 2-0, 2-0 Mid-Penn. Neumann 0-1, 0-1.