Snyder County gets by Juniata, 30-15

Walks lead to ample scoring opportunities

Sentinel photo by JEFF FISHBEIN
Snyder County's Derek Keister (2) slides safely into second base for a steal while Juniata County shortstop Owen Messimer waits for the throw. Juniata County second baseman Quentin Houtz (17) looks on.

DANVILLE –Control issues plagued both sides as the pair of local teams combined for 24 walks in a 30-15 victory for Snyder County over Juniata County in a Little League District 13 Minor 10 tournament elimination game at Washies Field in Danville on Tuesday night.

Snyder County started quickly, putting up seven runs in the first inning by capitalizing on multiple errors by the Juniata County defense. Juniata County fought back, drawing five straight walks off Snyder County starter Derek Keister and tallying six runs in the bottom of the opening frame.

Snyder County responded with four runs in the second inning off of hits from Jake Snook and Layne Phillips. Again, Juniata County countered with a three-run frame of its own, scoring on a fielder’s choice from Coy Kerstetter and an error after the ball was put in play by catcher Evan Weiger.

In the top of the third, Snyder County sent 12 men to the plate, drawing five walks and three singles, tallying eight runs in the process. River Knepp, who took over as pitcher in the first inning for Snyder County, was able to limit the Juniata County offense to just two runs in the bottom of the third, making the score 19-11 in favor of Snyder County.

The lead remained the same after the fourth as each team scored a pair.

With the score at 21-13, Juniata County pitcher Quentin Houtz silenced the Snyder County bats and gave his team its first scoreless inning of the game. The offense pushed across one run in the bottom of the fifth and the score heading into the final frame was 21-14.

However, the Snyder County offense scored nine runs in the sixth off of Houtz and Chase Hartland, highlighted by a triple into deep right-center field off the bat of Ian Erdley. Mason Fultz and Witten Carter each had an RBI single in the inning.

With the score at 30-14, Juniata County came to the plate in the bottom of the sixth hoping for a rally. While it was able to get a few runners on base, a double from Nolan Imes plated the only run as Snyder County came away with the 30-15 victory.

Even though it wasn’t the result Juniata County was looking for, manager Derek Hartland wanted his team to be proud of what they accomplished.

“I congratulated all of them for making All-Stars,” Hartland explained. “We had fun on this hot summer day.”

Even with the struggles in the field, Hartland said his team had fun, enjoying the experience as 9- and 10-year-olds. Even when the game wasn’t going their way, the boys of Juniata County never hung their heads or slouched their shoulders.

“The biggest thing we preached this year was having a positive attitude and positive body language and I think the kids displayed that, even in tough situations. They kept their heads up and kept smiling all game. And that’s what it’s all about,” Hartland said.

On the other side, manager of the Snyder County All-Stars Dwayne Keister was pleased with his team’s performance, especially on defense.

“(Knepp and Carter) came in and did what they had to do — let them (Juniata County) put the ball in play. You can’t defend walks,” Keister said. “A pitcher can settle down and throw strikes when he knows he has the defense behind him.”

Even with the solid defense and a good showing at the plate, Keister knows there is room for improvement. Keister’s message for his team moving forward is simple: “Just keep working.”

Snyder County will face Central Columbia in an elimination game Thursday in Danville.