LITTLE LEAGUE: ASTON-MIDDLETOWN FORCES ONE MORE GAME AS ATHENS' HOSTS STATE TOURNAMENT
(2022-07-28)BY CHRIS MANNINGNorthern Tier Sports Report
ATHENS — Athens is hosting the 11U baseball state tournament, and the two teams that made the final took very different paths.
East Side dominated their way through the winner’s bracket, beating Mountaintop 6-3, Hollidaysburg 10-0, and Council Rock Newton 14-4.
Aston-Middletown dropped their opener, 5-4, to Council Rock Newton, but then came into Thursday winners of four straight. They beat Dubois 13-2, Hollidaysburg 11-2, Keyston 3-0, and Council Rock Newton 11-1 to get into the finals.
That momentum carried over as they gave East Side their first loss, beating them 6-1 to force a winner-take-all on Friday, back at Athens.
Aston-Middletown pitcher Brayden Myers went the distance for the win, scattering eight hits, and one walk, while striking out four. Myers got some great play from his defense - particularly shortstop Joey Thompson, who made a leaping, full extension grab in the fourth inning to rob a base hit - and East Side just had the unfortunate luck of hitting hard balls right to the defense.
Myers helped his cause, too, going 2-for-3, while Brody Allison went 2-for-2 with a double and three runs scored, for Aston-Middletown. Shaun Barry went 1-for-2 with a run scored, while Luke Williams walked twice, and scored once, as Austin Young also crossed home as a pinch runner.
For East Side, seven different players had hits, led by Mason Canuso going 2-for-3. Callum Stoltzfus went 1-for-3 with a run scored, as Conor Gee (1-for-3), Bobby Truskey (1-for-3), Michael Time (1-for-3), Colin O’Keefe (1-for-2), and Jack Warner (1-for-1) also had hits.
Tyler Rauch started, with Stoltzfus coming on in relief. They combined for two strikeouts, five hits, and five walks.
Aston-Middletown struck first with two runs in the bottom of the second, but East Side came back with a run in the top of the third. Aston-Middletown answered with two more runs in the bottom half of the inning, then notched two more in the fifth to build a 5-run lead.
East Side didn’t go quietly, loading the bases in the top of the sixth, but Myers was able to end the game with a strikeout, making sure the tournament goes one more day.
The winner-take-all title game will be at 3 p.m. Friday at Athens’ Little League Field.
PHOTO CAPTION: Aston-Middletown’s Luke Fulker scores…PHOTOS BY CHRIS MANNING
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