Ben Troyer flashed a smile as he rounded third base at Kunkle Field under a twilight-tinted sky Wednesday evening. He had just slugged the ball over the fence in left-center field for a two-run home run — part of a three-run fifth inning — that helped knock off Donegal, 10-6, to help push the Mountville Indians back to the LNP Tournament's Midget-Midget finals.
The Indians (32-12-1) advance to face Penn Manor Friday in a game scheduled for 7 p.m. at Kunkle Field with a second game, if necessary, to be played Monday.
"The only thing that's harder than winning a championship," said Bob Sauders, Mountville's coach, "is winning it twice, so we've got our work cut out for us. Penn Manor has a nice team."
Troyer, one of three players from last year's championship team, extended the Mountville lead to 10-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning with his home run to the right of the Kunkle Field scoreboard, giving the Indians breathing room.
"I wasn't hitting very well in my last game," Troyer said, "so I just went for it."
Troyer also pitched 1.2 innings in relief of starter Tyler George. He snuffed out a Donegal rally in the top half of the fifth with a lunging stop from the mound and a toss to first base with runners on second and third.
Donegal threatens with runners on second and third in the fifth, but Mountville pitcher Ben Troyer makes a nice stop to record the out and get out of the jam. Mountville leads 7-3 going to BOT 5. pic.twitter.com/fuPETrPkfz— Tim Gross (@TimGrossLNP) July 11, 2019
"He came through," Sauders said of Troyer. "When he throws strikes, he's going to be tough."
Donegal (14-7-1) kept applying pressure in the top half of the sixth, plating three runs, including two on a single from Brock Hammaker.
"Our kids fought hard," said Jack Phillips, Donegal's head coach. "They're a good group of kids. We told them at the end that if they keep working hard, and they keep playing together, they could potentially be here at 14U or in high school. They're a great group of kids. I couldn't ask for anything better."
Mountville, after suffering a marathon loss to Penn Manor in the tournament Tuesday, jumped to a lead in the first inning Wednesday. Troyer drew a leadoff walk and later scored when designated hitter Josh Toole drove a pitch over the wall in right field. They added single runs in the second and third innings before putting up three runs in the fourth to pad the lead.
"We're not used to that," Sauders said of playing with a lead, "but it was good. Donegal has a good team. They're scrappy, and they're very aggressive on the bases."