Keer's bombs lead Franklin
bob ford/times news Jonathon Herman of Franklin Township slides safely into third base as Monte Baez of Palmerton/Towamensing awaits the throw.
Most nights, Daniel Keer's pitching performance would have grabbed the headlines.
But Thursday night, Keer's pitching had to take a backseat - to Keer's hitting.
Thanks to Keer's huge effort on the mound and at the plate, Franklin Township defeated Palmerton/Towamensing, 10-4, to remain alive in the District 18 11-12 year-old Little League Tournament.
"Daniel is always a huge factor in our games, but tonight he kind of took that to another level," said Franklin Township coach Frank Bokan Jr. "He has really been locked in at the plate this entire tournament.
"In addition to what he does for us offensively, he is also the ace of our pitching staff. It always a nice confidence boost when you're pitching your ace in an elimination game. Daniel showed why tonight."
Keer's pitching line was impressive, but his batting numbers were incredible.
On the mound, he allowed just three hits and two runs while striking out seven before reaching his pitch count limit with two outs in the fifth inning.
That effort was easily good enough for a victory because of what Keer did with a bat in his hand.
The tall right-hander smashed home runs in each of his first three plate appearances. His finished the night a perfect 4-for-4 with five RBIs and four runs scored.
"I felt good at the plate tonight," said Keer. "I wasn't trying to hit runs. I was just trying to make solid contact and I was able to do that.
"I'm just happy I was able to help the team win."
Keer's two-run blast to center and Collin's Haupt's RBI single gave Franklin a 3-0 lead in the top of the first.
After Owen Reis scored on a wild pitch for P-T in the home half of the first, Franklin erupted for four more runs in the second. Keer's two-run opposite field homer was the key blow.
Keer made it three straight long balls when he led off the fourth with a solo shot that increased Franklin's lead to 8-1.
Palmerton/Towamensing tried to make it interesting as it scored three runs after Keer was forced out in the fifth, but it was too little, too late.
"Keer is a great player and he is having a great tournament," said Palmerton/Towamensing coach Brian Taschler. "We were aware of how dangerous he was and we tried to make sure he didn't get anything really good to hit. But give him credit, he went out and hit some tough pitches.
"I'm proud of our kids, however. We won three games when we were facing elimination in this tournament and even though we fell behind early tonight we fought hard and battled to the end."
The victory was Franklin Township's fourth straight with its back to the wall in the double-elimination tourney. One of just three squads still alive in the 14-team tournament, Franklin will now travel to Valley East on Saturday at 6 p.m.
"Tonight was obviously Daniel's night," said Bokan. "But we have had different people step up for us all though this tournament.
"We're playing good defense, we're scoring runs, and we have had a number of kids pitch well for us. There is no doubt in my mind that we can win the tournament if we keep playing the way we are."
In addition to Keer's big game, Franklin got three hits each from Gabe Wagner and Nolan Wentz. Jack Schaeffer and Wagner both scored twice.
For Palmerton/Towamensing, Jake Taschler had two hits and scored a run.
Franklin Twp. 340 102 - 10 16 2
Palmerton/Tow 100 120 - 4 4 4
Keer, Herman (5) Berger (5) and Wagner; Wallace, Taschler (3) and Burnett. W- Keer. L-Wallace.