Logan Keepers was on top of his game, in more ways than one, against Brunswick on Wednesday in the District 2 Little League Tournament’s winners bracket final.
From his leadoff position in the batting order, Keepers had four hits in his four at-bats with two doubles and an RBI.
On the mound, Keepers’ mix of fastballs and change-ups kept Brunswick off balance. He hurled a complete-game one-hitter with eight strikeouts, and Frederick National earned a berth in Friday’s championship game with a 7-0 win at Robert B. Staley Stadium.
“I stuck with mainly the fastball,” Keepers said. “Then mixed in a few change-ups.”
Very rarely did Keepers need to go to his curveball. His basic pitches were working well enough to do the job.
“If a batter was fouling off a lot of pitches, then I’d go with the changeup to throw their timing off,” Keepers said. “Nothing complicated.”
Frederick National hosts Thursday’s elimination-round final between Four County and host Brunswick at 6 p.m. on Friday at Staley Stadium.
More importantly, a Frederick National wins clinches the district championship and a berth in the state tournament, which it is hosting, beginning Saturday, July 20.
Four County defeated Thurmont 7-3 in an elimination-round game on Wednesday.
“Wouldn’t that be great?” longtime Frederick National manager Danny Miller said of the prospect of playing in front of a home crowd at the state tournament. “That’s pretty exciting.”
At the plate, Keepers was steady with his swing. He doubled to left-center to lead off the top of the first inning. He doubled to right-center in the second, driving in a run. He singled up the middle with one out in the fifth, then singled to right-center in his final at-bat in the sixth.
“I pretty-much stayed relaxed at the plate,” Keepers said. “I didn’t rush anything.”
But it was Keepers’ pitching that impressed Brunswick manager Cody Bechtol.
“He was just lights out today,” Bechtol said. “He was like a cannon out there, throwing the strikes.”
Frederick National took a 2-0 lead in the first. David Boborquez had an RBI single. The other run scored on an error. In addition to Keepers’ RBI double in the second, a run scored on a bases-loaded walk.
Frederick National scored three runs in the sixth on an RBI double by Nathan Chappell, an RBI single by Kaden Hnath and an RBI double by Rapha Ramos.
Brunswick’s Nick Piermarini spoiled Keepers’ bid for a no-hitter with a leadoff single to left-center in the second. No Brunswick runner advanced beyond second.
“We were making contact with the ball,” Bechtol said. “It was just that we would always seem to hit it right at somebody. Frederick National made the plays.”
Wednesday’s game was another chapter in a long-standing District 2 rivalry between Frederick National and Brunswick. Each has won its share of games over the years.
“This was a good ball game,” Miller said. “We made plays, they made plays.”
Even before his team left the field on Wednesday, Bechtol was already looking ahead to Thursday’s game with Four County, and the possibility of a rematch with Frederick National in Friday’s district championship game.
“We’re not done yet,” Bechtol said. “We’ve still got some baseball left to play.”