Saturday: Keystone majors opens sectionals with win over Roosevelt
By: ERIC HUNT
For The Express
EAST SNYDER-Bases loaded, two outs, and Keystone’s Jake Weaver stepped to the plate looking to send the ball over the fence for his second home run of the day against Roosevelt Trail Little League from Wyalusing.
Weaver took the first pitch he saw from Logan Norton to deep right field, but not deep enough as the right fielder gloved it for the third out in the fifth inning.
That play didn’t change the outcome of the game as the Boys in Blue cruised to a 10-3 win Saturday afternoon, but it would have helped end the game early and get out of the sun and heat on a cloudless day.
Keystone major baseball continues its recent history of Little League baseball with another dominant performance in the opening round of the Section 3 tournament at East Snyder Park in Selinsgrove. It did not matter what Wyalusing was throwing, Keystone’s entire lineup continued to do damage with 11 different players reaching a base.
“Our offense started off slow. In the first inning we went down swinging in all three at-bats, but we finished with 11 hits at the end of the game and I’m proud about the way we bounced back,” Weaver said.
Keystone’s offense took some time to adjust to Wyalusing’s big left hander on the mound who was working all kinds of pitches around the zone needing just 14 pitches in the first inning.
The second inning was when Keystone found its offense and exploded for three runs from the middle of the lineup. Weaver sat on a 1-0 fastball and launched it over the right centerfield fence to rally his team. Hart Fletcher and Caleb Mahoney followed Weaver with a double and an RBI single to tie the game at three and be right back in the game.
“I knew as soon as I hit the ball it was out,” Weaver said. “It felt good, I’m glad I was able to help the team after not a good start pitching.
“We started off slow, but the second inning has been our inning this year and we were able to get some runs in the board from there,” Keystone manager Brad Mahoney said.
Wyalusing started the game as the visiting team and rattled Weaver from the start as a walk and two singles scored the opening run of the game. In the second inning, Weaver walked the first three batters to load the bases before being replaced by Jase Seltzer.
Seltzer battled to keep the runners on with the top of the lineup coming around. Wyalusing scratched a run across in the first at-bat when Seltzer dropped an infield fly off the bat of Logan Norton that scored Jake Bankes and a 6-3-5 double play ended the threat with another run tacked on Wyalusing extended its lead to 3-0.
“It was tough pitching for us today,” Seltzer said. “The strike zone was different for the lefties, and we gave up a few bases early on, but we came back and got the outs.”
Seltzer started the third inning with the same trouble finding the zone again loading the bases for Wyalusing. Kenny Mapes led off with a single to right, a walk to Hunter House and another single by Takoda Vanderpool had Wyalusing threatening to score. Seltzer did not let the runners lose his focus and pounded the zone to get two strikeouts and a dribbler back to him for the final out.
“I let the runners on but I was able to come back and didn’t let them score, it was a big relief.” Seltzer said.
After the scare, Seltzer settled in for four innings of work, allowing three hits before Griffen Kerstetter slammed the door to end the game. Keystone batted around in the fifth inning, put up five runs and put the game out of reach. Pinch hitter, Zach St. Clair roped a single to right field, Weaver hit a double and Gavin Karstetter walked to load the bases. Isiah Maldonado entered the game with a two-run single to center field that scored St. Clair and Weaver and Donevan Seyler singled to score Karstetter. Seltzer rounded out the inning with an RBI single for Keystone’s fifth run.
“It wasn’t the best performance from the kids, but it was enough to move on,” Mahoney said.