STAR IN THE MAKING: Braylen Corter’s success leading to wins for Keystone 10-12 All-Stars

Braylen Corter (22) of the Keystone 10-12 All-Stars Little League Baseball team runs on the field to mingle with fans before a sectional tournament little league baseball game in Beech Creek. Corter is batting with a .708 AVG, 5 HR’s and 19 RBI’s. (The Express/Tim Weight)

BEECH CREEK — At five years old, Braylen Corter first became interested in baseball. He entered the sport when he had joined his first travel team when he was eight, and now at 12, his commitment to the sport is a vital chunk of the Keystone All-Stars’ success.

Corter’s been brilliant hitting in the leadoff spot. He leads the team in seven offensive categories, including batting average, hits and RBI’s. Corter believes his dominant tournament-season run is the product of playing with the Clinton County Wildcats travel team in the beginning of the summer.

“Getting extra baseball in definitely helped,” Corter said. “Getting around and traveling definitely helped.”

“I’ve been seeing the ball well, too. I have to keep doing what I’m doing.”

Corter thinks the added bonus of his teammates’ support-combined with the passionate fans pushes him to perform better.

“The team definitely helps,” Corter said. “They keep me up and the crowd definitely helped in sectionals and districts.”

Corter was a member of the 2017 Keystone Majors team, but has shown growth in his game since then. Last year, he was mainly a contact hitter, which he still is, but now he’s grown into a big-time slugger.

“He was never really a power hitter,” coach Pat Johnson said of Corter. “He hit a lot for average, hit a lot of doubles in the gaps and just ran the bases like crazy. The power hitting has been something that’s come along in the past couple of months.”

Corter’s slugging was on full display in the sectional finals. On the second pitch of his first at-bat, he cracked a line drive home run to put Keystone ahead, 1-0. Later in the game, he crushed a three-run blast to widen Keystone’s lead, 9-0.

He’s totaled five home runs this season and has a ridiculous .708 batting average. His team-high 19 RBIs more than doubles the next leader on Keystone.

Despite his video game-like numbers, Corter practices patience at the plate.

“I think where you see the biggest difference is when he hit a homerun to start the game last game, then he turns around and walks at the next at-bat,” Johnson said. “That’s the telltale sign of a disciplined hitter.”

Corter’s athleticism provides limitless options for Keystone, who can insert him into multiple roles. While primarily viewed as a slugger, he’s also a stingy shortstop on defense. If needed, he can provide depth on the mound.

“I’ve said for a longtime that he’s maybe the best youth shortstop I’ve ever seen,” Johnson said of Corter. “And now he’s batting [well], and he’s probably one of the best pitchers we have, too.”

Corter doesn’t feel any added pressure to perform every game. His relaxed approach calms his nerves and boosts him to play at a high level.

“I just have fun out there,” Corter said. “I go up there, do what I can and just try to get on base on the leadoff. I’m going to keep approaching it how I’ve been approaching it and see what happens.”

So how does Corter feel about Keystone advancing to the state playoffs?

“I’m super excited,” he said. “It’s just another step and I’m ready to keep having fun.”