Keystone (9-11) wins rained-soaked District Championship, 6-4
By SHAREIK FLOWERS
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT- Inclement weather postponed Keystone’s Friday night District Championship versus Hepburn by an hour. The delay may have mentally fatigued Hepburn–but for Keystone it did anything but.
The Keystone All Stars (9-11 years old) dropped Hepburn, 6-4, to win the District 12 Championship. The game was called after the fifth inning following another rain storm that clogged the field.
“This win is all about the kids,” Keystone manager Troy Probst said. “These kids come and practice every day and they gave it their all every day. I am extremely proud of each and every one of these kids. There’s no superstars on this team. They’re all equal.”
Watt Probst pitched a complete game for Keystone. He threw seven strikeouts and issued just two walks and allowed two earned runs.
“Watt came in and he did a good job today ,” Troy Probst said of Watt. “He did a good job out there tonight.”
Keystone ended the night with the win, but the first inning belonged to Hepburn. Leadoff batter Cole Deitrick smacked a line drove double to left field, before Camden March followed with a single to left field. March got caught in a pickle as he rounded first, but a Keystone fielding error during the play sent both Deitrick and March home as Hepburn grabbed an early 2-0 lead.
Keystone failed to capitalize with the bases-loaded in the bottom of the first, but in the second the team manufactured four runs through effective small ball. After Austin Andrus ripped a leadoff double, Jude Mackenzie and Atton Counsil perfectly executed bunts and narrowly beat the throw to first to load the bases. Cole Cooper and Hunter Donley then drew back-to-back RBI walks to even the score, before Watt Probst’s RBI and Blake Walker’s RBI sac-fly handed Keystone a 4-2 lead.
“Bunting is huge,” manager Troy Probst said of the sequence that set up four runs. “A lot of teams are too proud to bunt, but that’s one thing we do really well, which is playing small ball. We give hats off to their pitchers, we knew they were good , and that we had to play small ball.”
Hepburn added another run in the third off a Keystone fielding error, and the three errors the defense committed is something Probst hopes will minimize once Sectionals begins next Friday.
“I think part of that was kids just getting tired a bit,” Probst said. “It’s what I started to see. Kids were getting tired a little bit and they were starting to wind down a little bit.”
Lucas Naughton evened the game for Hepburn with an RBI single in the fifth, but Keystone notched another two runs in the bottom of the frame to pull away. Back-to-back fielding errors by Hepburn led to a Keystone score, and a wild pitch sent Nolan Cross home as Keystone took a 6-4 lead.
Hepburn managed two base runners in the top of the sixth, with one out, before rain storms swept through South Williamsport. After a 33-minute delay the game was ruled official at 9:13 p.m.
“I’m still confident we would’ve finished things up there,” Probst said. “But the weather had other things in mind, and really poured down us.”
Keystone returns next Friday, 7:30 p.m. at District 15 site Athens.