For Penn Manor second baseman Ethan Transue, it was just a routine play, nothing significant.
The view from anywhere but second base told a different story.
With a run in — on Josh Toole’s sixth RBI of the tournament — one out and Mountville runners on first and second, Transue knocked down Brandon King’s hot shot, keeping it in the infield for a single, and keeping a second run off the board.
“It was just reaction,” the 11-year old said. “Just part of the game.”
A big part!
In what was, for four of the six scheduled innings, a one-run game, keeping that second run off the board was key as the Penn Manor Comets defeated the defending champion Mountville Indians 4-1 in the Midget-Midget championship of the 74th LNP Baseball tournament, Friday night at Mount Joy’s Kunkle Field.
The victory was the first M-M title for a Manor area side since Safe Harbor won its last title, in 1998.
It was also the second time in four days the Comets (20-3) topped the Indians, who accounted for two of the Comets three regular season losses.
“In those, we had some mental blunders,” Comets coach John Riggs shared. “But tonight they stayed with it, they stayed focused.”
Transue’s focus was laser like as he kept the ball from squirting through the outfield, and kept at least one, possible more runs off the board.
Winning pitcher Bradyn Eckert got a shallow fly ball and fielder’s choice to end the inning, stranding three of the eventual nine left on base for the Indians (32-13-1)
“That first inning was a backbreaker for us,” said Indians coach Bob Sauders.
“You get the bases loaded, your (number) four & five hitters up, tip your hat to Eckert, he threw a nice game.”
“You could tell the adrenaline was there,” Riggs said. “It took (Eckert) an inning or two to settle in.”
“I was getting out in front, not following through all the way,” said Eckert, who was consistently — and effectively — high in the strike zone.
Bryce Avery erased Mountville’s advantage with one swing in the bottom of the first, drilling an opposite-field, two-run homer out to left field for his ninth round-tripper of the season.
“I’m sure that pitch (to Avery) looked pretty fat,” Sauders said. “It kept rising.”
“Oh yeah,” agreed Avery, who finished the tournament with a .700 average and eight RBI.
“It was a fastball. I knew he was going to go up with one. He was trying to get ahead.
“He wasn’t going to throw me another one of those. I had to capitalize on the one I got.”
From there it was Eckert keeping the Indians off balance, and playing with fire.
In the fifth inning Mountville loaded the bases with one out and the meat of Mountville’s order coming to bat.
He struck out Dylan Jackson — for the second time, one of seven for Eckert — and got King on a fly to left.
He got breathing room in the bottom of the inning as Cole Miller ripped a solo homer over the scoreboard in left center.
Avery doubled and Eckert delivered him with a single to left.
Mountville had one last shot in the sixth as, with one out, Jevin Seifert singled and losing pitcher Liam Ahern walked.
Jackson Stuart came on in relief, getting Dylan Banzhof looking and Ben Troyer on a fly ball to Ellis Van Name in center to trigger the celebration.
“We told them coming out (tonight), ‘One and done. We don’t want to come back (for a winner-take-all) Monday.’ ” Riggs shared.