FRANKLIN TWP., NJ — Freehold Township of New Jersey made things interesting, and perhaps even too close for Keystone’s liking. But Keystone’s junior baseball team held off Freehold Township late en route to an 7-3 win in their Eastern Regional tournament opener on Friday night.
The win advances Keystone to Sunday against Berlin Little League of Berlin, Maryland, at 1 pm
Freehold Township put two runners on with two outs and trailed by just four runs, but Keystone induced the final out to secure the win. The game was delayed due to lightning/rain for approximately three hours and did not finish until close to 11 pm
Keystone used four hits in the top of the second inning to quickly build up a 4-0 lead with just one out. Keystone then had the bases loaded when Blake Walker reached on a single. Freehold Township’s Ronan Kiely helped New Jersey get out of a huge jam by forcing two outs with the bases loaded to prevent Keystone from adding any additional runs.
By the time that second inning was over, Keystone had collected five singles as Austin Andrus, Hayes Miller and Cole Cooper all had an RBI. Nolan Cross, Jones, Miller and Austin Frank all scored.
After Freehold Township scored in the bottom of the second, Keystone maintained a 4-1 lead through the fourth inning. Freehold Township scored twice in the bottom of the fifth inning, however, to cut the deficit to just one run before Keystone responded with a run in the sixth and two more in the seventh to go ahead by four.
A walk and single put two runners on in the bottom of the seventh for Freehold Township as Ronan Kieley and John Glusko III both advanced to third and second, respectively, on wild pitches to put runners in scoring position. Darius Shade then came up huge for Keystone, recording three consecutive strikeouts to end any rally attempt before it could begin.
Keystone limited Freehold Township to five hits — all singles — as Aiden Jones, Austin Frank, Blake Walker, Watt Probst and Shade combined in the winning effort, combining for nine strikeouts as well.
Blake Walker led Keystone by going 2 for 2 and twice being walked. Aiden Jones had the game’s lone extra-base hit with a double and two walks, and Watt Probst, Hayes Miller, Cole Cooper and Austin Andrus all collected singles.
Glusko III led Freehold Township’s offense by going 2 for 3 and Aiden Bain, Jackson Redmond and Nicholas Lynch each had a single.
Keystone 040 001 2 — 7 7 3
Freehold Twp., NJ 010 020 0 — 3 5 3
Aiden Jones, Austin Frank (2), Blake Walker (4), Watt Probst (5), Darius Shade (7) and Watt Probst. Ronan Kiely, Aiden Bain (6), Nicholas Lynch (7) and (n/a). W: Jones. L: Kiely.
Top Keystone hitters: Blake Walker 2-2, 2 BB; Watt Probst 1-4, run; Aiden Jones 1-2, 2B, 2 BB, run; Hayes Miller 1-1, RBI, run; Austin Andrus 1-1, RBI; Cole Cooper 1-4, RBI; Austin Frank, run; Dane Hanna, run. Top Freehold Twp. hitters: John Glusko III 2-3; Aiden Bain 1-4, run; Jackson Redmond 1-3; Nicholas Lynch 1-1.