SENECA, Pa. – In a four-hour long marathon with a rain/snow/hail delay, Keystone emerged victorious over Cranberry, 17-10.
(Photo: Austin Fento Attempts to Negotiate the Snowy Weather)
The game began in a snowy wind, which shifted to rain and hail and continued through the early innings. The poor weather defined the game, as both teams struggled to throw strikes, make plays, and produce hard contact. Keystone set the tone early, taking a 12-0 lead after four innings. The Berries scored five in the fifth to keep the game going and scored four more in the sixth in response to a pair of Keystone runs in the top of the frame. Both teams exchanged runs in the seventh to set the final score.
Logan Sell led Keystone at the dish, going 3-for-6 with two doubles and six RBI. Keenan Heeter also had three hits for the Panthers. Tye Elder received the win for Keystone, throwing 4 2/3 innings of four-run ball, giving up no earned runs, and striking out seven.
“That’s senior leadership,” said Keystone manager J P Samay when asked about Elder’s strong performance. “He fights through battles and never gives up. He’s a fighter, and he did a heck of a job.”
Elder’s performance is particularly outstanding, as he pitched on both sides of a lengthy delay, maintaining poise and control despite the poor conditions.
Cranberry’s Austin Fento went 1-for-2 with two walks while also taking the loss on the mound.
Keystone used three walks alongside a pair of doubles by Logan and Aidan Sell to open up the game with a three-run first inning. Walks would continue to be a theme all evening, with both teams combining for 38 walks and hit batters. Another Logan Sell double would drive in the second of two runs in the second, putting Keystone up 5-0 after two innings. Keystone would keep their momentum rolling in the third, using four singles to score three more runs, upping their advantage to 8-0.
A Pair of Keystone Runners Score in the First
The light drizzle then turned to heavy rain, forcing a 25-minute delay. The stoppage did little to slow Keystone’s scoring, as they added five more runs in the top of the fourth. Logan Sell was the key man yet again for Keystone, as he drove in Donnie Gutonski and Elder to put Keystone up by 13. Free passes kept Cranberry alive as Keystone walked five and had a hit-by-pitch in the bottom of the fifth, allowing the Berries to score five runs. The surge cut Keystone’s lead to 13-5.
Walks were the main source of offense in the late innings, with both teams exchanging scores as free passes managed to make their way around the bases. Trailing 17-10 in the seventh, Cranberry loaded the bases with walks, but Aidan Sell’s tag-out, throw-out double play ended the game, giving the Panthers a 17-10 win.
“[The win] is a big confidence builder,” said Samay. “We can hit, and we can compete with any team. As long as we can get on base, we can do the small things [to win].” Samay will hope for continued success, as his 2-2 side faces Union next Tuesday.
Cranberry drops to 1-4 and will look to get back in the win column against C-L on Tuesday.