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Keystone Little League knocks Montoursville to elimination bracket, advances to District 12 major championship

ALBRIGHT STUDIO/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Keystone's Ashton Falls steals home in the top of the sixth inning at Bruce Henry Park against Montoursville.

Keystone Little League was all gas, no brakes in the District 12 major baseball semifinals.

From start to finish, Keystone put together quality at-bats and played a strong field against Montoursville, knocking the latter to the elimination bracket in a 6-0 win at Bruce Henry Park on Monday.

The District 12 winners’ bracket final will be played at Keystone’s home field with Muncy in town on July 6. Montoursville will take on GSV in an elimination game at East Lycoming on July 1.

With the bases loaded in the top of the first inning, Kyle Everett (2 for 4, double) drove in the lead runner and Jaiden McCloskey forced in another on a hard ground ball.

“It was discipline and a couple timely hits,” Keystone coach Ben Falls said. “Coming in there we got the bases loaded, I tell the boys all the time, ‘We don’t need home runs. We need to put the ball into play and let happen whatever happens.'”

Keystone bookended the game with another two-run inning in the sixth. Leading off at the top of the order, Ashton Falls and Luke Nonemaker recorded back-to-back singles and advanced into scoring position on a passed ball.

Another wild pitch brought Falls home and Blake King (2 for 4) drove in Nonemaker to cap off the scoring.

ALBRIGHT STUDIO/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Montoursville's Cole Weaver makes a catch in the top of the fifth inning against Keystone at Bruce Henry Park.

“I think it came up. We were struggling for part of the game and when you’ve got 13 kids, you got four kids who are coming in and they gotta be clutch,” Falls said. “Kid came in and got a bunt down, gets to second and everybody contributes. When everybody’s pulling the wagon, good things happen.”

One of said struggles was being unable to take full advantage of bases-loaded situations after the first inning. Montoursville catcher Bryce Parker tagged the lead runner at the plate to retire the side in the second.

ALBRIGHT STUDIO/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Montoursville's Cole Weaver throws to first in the top of the second inning at Bruce Henry Park against Keystone.

Parker once again came up big for Montoursville in the following inning. Everett led off with a double and after two outs were made, Parker beat Everett at home to hold Keystone at bay for two scoreless innings.

“Bryce is a big, strong kid. We’ve said that to him all along and we’ve told him that if there’s plays at the plate, use your body,” Montoursville coach Craig Weaver said. “If you have the ball, you can drop down. He saved a big run for us early just because he did exactly what he’s been working on at practice. It was a close play, he got the ball and squashed that run there, which was huge at that point to keep it two-nothing.”

ALBRIGHT STUDIO/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Montoursville's Eli Eck tags out Keystone's Jaiden McCloskey in the top of the first inning at Bruce Henry Park.

Hayes Donley (2 for 4) knocked an RBI single in the top of the fourth, followed by an RBI double from Joey Miller in the fifth. Miller hit two doubles in the game.

“With our guys, it’s about staying in the game and keeping our heads,” Weaver said. “We’ve got a lot of great athletes out here that can play the game, but we just can’t allow one bad thing impact the next play. That’s all we keep preaching to them. Short term memory. Let it go. Let it go and get the next one.”

Eli Eck struck out his fourth and final batter in before being relieved by Cy Heddings in the fourth inning. Heddings struck out five and the two allowed 11 combined hits.

Everett struck out one batter and allowed one hit on 42 pitches before being relieved by Donley in the third. Donley struck out two and didn’t allow a single hit the rest of the way.

ALBRIGHT STUDIO/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Montoursville's Eli Eck slides into second base in the bottom of the first against Keystone at Bruce Henry Park.

“The field’s in great shape. And the boys, we play on grass fields and stuff so the boys are adjusted well to the dirt and grass, and the characteristics of that,” Falls said. “And it’s discipline, just practicing. We told the boys defense wins ball games and if you can, keep them from getting that easy hit, and make routine plays routinely.”

The closest Montoursville came to plating a run was in the bottom of the third inning. A leadoff walk, wild pitch and fielder’s choice put a runner in scoring position, but a strikeout and groundout kept Montoursville off the board.

“We got a lot of competitors, so this will eat at them enough that I think this is going to burn the fire a little bit for them,” Weaver said. “I think we’re gonna come back pretty strong off of this.”

Keystone 200 112 — 6 11 0

Montoursville 000 000 — 0 1 1

Kyle Everett, Hayes Donley (3) and Luke Nonemaker. Eli Eck, Cy Heddings (4) and Bryce Parker. W: Everett. L: Eck.

Top Keystone hitters: Hayes Donley 2-4; Kyle Everett 2-4, 2B; Blake King 2-4; Joey Miller 2-3, 2 2B.

ALBRIGHT STUDIO/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Keystone's Joey Miller is safe at second in the top of the second inning against Montoursville at Keystone.

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