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Johnson retires the final seven batters he faces to help Keystone defeat Williamsport 5-1

Williamsport’s Makai Day delivers a pitch during the first round of the District 12 Major Baseball Tournament at Beech Creek. Day pitched an outstanding game, but fell short as Keystone pulled away for a 5-1 win.

Keystone’s Gabriel Johnson throws a pitch during the opening round of the District 12 Major Baseball Tournament. Johnson struck out nine batters in five innings to help Keystone earn a 5-1 win over Williamsport.

Keystone’s Brady Myers throws to first after making a difficult stop during a District 12 Major Baseball game against Williamsport.

Keystone’s Garden Fravel connects with a single during the second inning of a District 12 Major Baseball Tournament game against Williamsport. Keystone outlasted Williamsport to claim a 5-1 win.

Williamsport’s Coen Britton heads home for a run during a District 12 Major Baseball game against Keystone.


For the Webb Weekly 

BEECH CREEK—At the start of the fourth inning Keystone’s Gabriel Johnson had already struck out the side once. He was locked in a pitcher’s duel against Williamsport’s Makai Day, who matched him in scoreless innings up to that point. 

Johnson needed to stay close to perfect and he delivered for his team. He struck out six consecutive batters to bridge the fourth and fifth innings. The rest was up to Keystone’s offense which scored four runs over the final two innings to post a 5-1 win over Williamsport. 

“Six strikeouts in a row is a heck of a thing,” Keystone manager Patrick Johnson said. “His curveball was good and he was locating pitches. It’s huge and hopefully it gives him confidence. We have four or five guys we trust to get the win and he was able to do that for us tonight. Next time it will be somebody else.” 

The opening round win of the District 12 Major Baseball Tournament will move Keystone into a matchup with Loyalsock Sunday at Jersey Shore. The game is slated for a 2 p.m. start. Williamsport will play the loser of Montgomery and Woolrich Tuesday at Newberry at 6 p.m. 

“That’s a very great team over there,” Williamsport manager Tariq Moore said. “Defensive wise it was tough on the kids. They’re 12-years-old and sometimes it’s just a give and take. I want my kids to have fun and enjoy the game at all times. As long as they give max effort it’s good in my book.” 

The effort on both sides was outstanding, especially from the two starting pitchers. Day started for Williamsport and held Keystone scoreless before giving up two home runs. He fanned five batters in five-plus innings of work. 

“All due respect to their pitcher,” Patrick Johnson said. “He’s the real deal. He was throwing hard and hitting spots and also changing speeds. Credit to him. He’s a great player.” 

As for Gabriel Johnson, he was just a little better on a night when both pitchers looked great. Johnson walked the second batter he faced before retiring the next five batters to get into the third. He gave up a run in the third when Coen Britton and Cadyen Roberston connected with singles to tie the game. 

Johnson just dialed in more as he ended the third and retired the next six batters with strikeouts to get Keystone into the sixth inning. Johnson finished with nine strikeouts in five innings of work. He retired the side in three of the five innings and recorded outs against the final seven batters he faced. 

“We’re out there trying to match zeros with those guys and they have a heck of a pitcher too,” Patrick Johnson said. “We had a plan on taking him out earlier in the game, but when he was dealing the way that he was we made the decision on the fly to ride with him. I guess it worked out.” 

Levi Schlesinger entered in the sixth to finish off the game for Johnson. He walked one batter, but fanned two and caught a line drive to end the game and give Johnson the win. 

“My fastball was in the strike zone and so was my curveball,” Gabriel Johnson said. “They were swinging and it just worked out.” 

Keystone’s offense finally got a boost when Braylen Corter connected with a home run in the fifth inning. It gave Keystone a 2-1 lead, but the offense was far from done as Elek Fravel and Conner Foltz each hit home runs in the sixth inning. 

“It was insane, because the game was tied and he came up big for us,” Gabriel Johnson said of Corter’s home run. 

Williamsport scored its run in the third when Roberston drove Britton in from second. It was a big moment for Roberston, who had a ground ball nearly hit him in the face in the second. It was difficult play and a run would eventually score, but Roberston helped his team tie the game in the third with his single. 

“I was proud of him,” Moore said. “He came back and got a hit for us and scored a run. It’s baseball. Most of these kids play a lot of baseball. I tell them that sometimes it’s not going to be your day at the plate, but don’t take that to the field. It might not be your day in the field, but don’t take that to the plate.” 

It was a key moment for Williamsport, which will have to use some of that bounce-back ability to continue on in the tournament. 

Keystone 5, Williamsport 1

KEY 010 013–5 6 0

WAL 001 000–1 2 2 

Gabriel Johnson, Levi Schlesinger (6), and Gardner Fravel. Makai Day, Cole Shuler (6), Klyher Allis (6), and Deacon Brown. 

WP: Johnson. LP: Day.  SV: Schlesinger. 

Top Keystone hitters: Braylen Corter 1-3, HR, run, RBI; Elek Fravel 1-3, HR, 2 runs, RBI; Conner Foltz 2-3, HR, run, 2 RBI. Top Williamsport hitters: Cadyen Roberston 1-2, RBI. 

Records: Keystone 1-0. Williamsport 0-1.

Next: Keystone vs. Loyalsock at Jersey Shore, Sunday, 2 p.m. Williamsport vs. Montgomery/Woolrich, Tuesday at Newberry, 6 p.m. 

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