The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

March 21, 2014

High school baseball: Brouse, Selinsgrove top Line Mountain in Valley lid-lifter

Daily Item

---- — By Todd Hummel

For The Daily Item

SELINSGROVE -- Brent Beiler couldn't have imagined the Selinsgrove baseball opener going any better.

The Seals missed districts by two wins last season, but Beiler didn't want to dwell on that or any other numbers as Selinsgrove started its season on Friday afternoon with Line Mountain.

"We made some team goals this season, but we didn't write down any numbers. We talked about moving runners and damage control," Beiler said. "We moved runners in the first two innings (to get the lead), and to get out of the bases-loaded jam in the fourth without a run was huge."

Colton Brouse kicked off his senior year in style, allowing a run over four innings along with knocking in three runs, as the Seals downed the Eagles 10-2 in the opener for both teams.

"When your seniors step up to get out of a potential big inning, it's going to give you a good chance to win," Beiler said.

Already trailing 6-0 entering the top of the fourth, Line Mountain looked to get back into the game against Brouse, who didn't allow a hit until Cory Warford led off with a single. Warford moved to second when the ball got past the center fielder, and then scored on J.P. Lenker's single to cut the Selinsgrove lead to 6-1.

Colton Gaw and John Yerger eventually drew walks with two outs to load the bases for Line Mountain, but Brouse got the No. 9-hitter to ground out to second and end the threat.

"We were at the spot in the order if we get a hit there, we have the top of the order coming up with men on base and a good chance to get back in the game," Line Mountain coach Jon Raker said. "It just didn't work out."

After Brouse survived a walk and an error in the top of the first without allowing a run, Selinsgrove struck with four runs in the top of the inning. Tyler Cook was hit by a pitch and Aiden Greak singled. After both runners moved up on a wild pitch, Brouse doubled them home.

Zack Hendricks followed with an infield hit as Brouse's courtesy runner, Zac Broome, moved to third. Ben Kuhns, Hendricks' courtesy runner, stole second as Broome swiped home to give Selinsgrove a 3-0 lead. Andy Ryan's groundout plated the final run of the rally.

The Seals added two mores runs in the second. Ian Weaver reached on an error, and Manny Little beat out a bunt. Cook sacrificed the runners into scoring position, and Greak and Brouse followed with back-to-back RBI singles.

Little also sparked a three-run bottom of the fourth after the Seals had escaped in the jam in Line Mountain's half. Despite a spectacular back-handed diving stop in the hole by Eagles shortstop Kellan Masser, Little reached to open the inning. He stole second, moved to third on a Cook groundout, and scored on Greak's sacrifice fly. After Brouse walked and Hendricks singled, Isaiah Rapp capped the inning with a wind-blown, two-run double for a 9-1 lead.

Jake Nylund gave Selinsgrove a 10-1 lead with an RBI single in the fifth, before the Eagles scored their final run in the top of the seventh on a Lenker sacrifice fly.

Raker wasn't too down after his team's loss, though. Due to the weather and lingering damp conditions, Line Mountain is one of many teams that haven't been able to practice on its own field.

I thought overall we swung the bat pretty well. Even some of our outs were solid," Raker said. "Our hitting should be a little ahead of our other stuff, though. One thing we can do is hit in the cages and (the coaches) can throw some live batting practice."