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Keystone juniors advance to Eastern Regional championship game

FREEHOLD TWP., N.J. — One huge inning was all Keystone needed to completely put Monday’s Junior Baseball Eastern Regional tournament game away in Freehold Township, New Jersey. Keystone scored seven runs in the top of the fifth inning after leading by just two runs to gain separation en route to a convincing 9-0 win against Canton of Massachusetts

With the win, Keystone advances to Tuesday’s Eastern Regional championship game at 10 a.m. An “if” game is scheduled directly afterwards at 1 p.m. if necessary. The Junior League World Series is scheduled for Aug. 14-21 in Taylor, Michigan.

Austin Frank reached on an error before consecutive ground outs put him at third with two outs. But Keystone kept playing strong. After the second ground out, Keystone strung together six consecutive hits to start scoring runs. Three walks after that string of hits allowed more runs to come in and by the time Canton struck out the final batter of the inning, Keystone had built up an impressive 9-0 lead.

Aiden Jones put together a brilliant performance on the mound on Monday morning. Canton was limited to just two hits — both singles — from Jack Norton (1 for 3) and Gavin Davis (1 for 2). Canton was held without a hit for the first two innings and didn’t collect its first single until Davis hit one into shallow center with two outs in the bottom of the third. Jones kept Canton’s bats quiet until Norton hit a single into shallow left with two outs in the sixth.

Offensively, Keystone’s bats collected 13 hits as Watt Probst led the team with a 4 for 4 performance with a double, two RBIs and run scored. Jones went 3 for 4 with a double, two RBIs and run scored and Nolan Cross was 2 for 4 with a triple, RBI and two runs scored. Hayes Miller, Cole Cooper and Darius Shade hit singles and Blake Walker had a double.

Both Keystone and Canton were scoreless through three innings of play. In the top of the second, a ground out led off the inning before Probst crushed a deep double toward the left-field fence. A triple into center by Cross afterwards drove in Probst and then Cross was driven in a batter later when Jones hit a double into center.

Keystone 000 270 0 – 9 13 2

Canton, Mass. 000 000 0 – 0 2 1

Aiden Jones and Austin Frank. Chris Pirrera, Riley Swearingen (5), Joseph Ryan (6) and Graidy Carr. W: Jones. L: Pirerra.

Top Keystone hitters: Watt Probst 4-4, 2B, 2 RBIs, run; Aiden Jones 3-4, 2B, 2 RBIs, run; Cole Cooper 1-4, BI; Darius Shade 1-4, RBI, run; Blake Walker 1-5, 2B, run; Nolan Cross 2-4, 3B, RBI, 2 runs; Hayes Miller 1-4, RBI, run. Top Canton, Mass. hitters: Jack Norton 1-3; Gavin Davis 1-2.

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