SPARTA — Pitcher Keith Keyes
gave the Utica Post 92 Royals just what they needed on Monday. Keyes tossed a
four-hit, complete game shutout en route to a 10-0 victory over Johnstown Post
254 in their American Legion tournament game.
“I felt good and still feel good,” said Keyes. “We just wanted to get through today and get the win. They are a pretty good team, but we have played great teams already.”
“This is just one win and we have to win four more to get to where we are going,” said Royals’ coach Mike King. “Keith Keyes did an outstanding job on the mound, today. You can’t ask for anything more than that from him.”
Keyes, who finished off Johnstown on a mere 82 pitches, was clinging to a 1-0 lead in a tight ballgame until he and his Royals mates broke it open in the fifth. Keyes and Ben Hoar scored on a Luke Wilson single to highlight a four-run fifth.
“Offensively, we struggled early in the game,” said King. “After that, we started piecing things together and we started getting some good at bats. One thing led to another and we put up 10 runs.”
Keyes, meanwhile, just cruised along on the mound with two or three pitches.
“My fastball was working pretty good,” said Keyes. “I finally got the knuckle to work, today. Every once in a while, I got the curveball in for a strike.”
The young Royals added three more in the sixth and two in the seventh to give them a rematch today against Prospect — a team that has given them trouble. The win was also a shot of confidence that they needed.
“(Sunday’s loss to Marysville) hurt us pretty bad,” said Keyes. “We just wanted to come out today and show (Johnstown) what we were made of.”
With another win, the Royals will achieve their season goal of 25 wins. Not bad when one considers that they could return all but three current players to next year’s roster. For now, though, the Royals have one more game and one more opponent.
“We can score runs,” said King. “Our biggest worry isn’t scoring runs. It’s the pitching, the defense and the little things. Prospect has played us tough. They’ve won two out of three against us. Maybe we can even it up (today.)”