Justin Keith didn’t set the table, he set the tone.
Littlestown’s leadoff man crushed the third pitch of the game past the rightfield fence at Gettysburg Rec Park, skipping the ball over the road. From there, the Dodgers were in the fast lane as they raced past homestanding Gettysburg, 10-3 in South Penn League action on Thursday.
Keith’s blast triggered a nine-run outburst by the Dodgers over the first three innings.
“It’s nice to get a lead, you never want to take a team too lightly,” said Keith, Littlestown’s player/manager. “Their pitcher settled down and threw well after a while. It was nice to have a good first two innings and jump out like that.”
The Dodgers racked up 13 hits off Grays starter Corey Rice, with 10 of those coming in the initial burst. Sam Wertz singled home a run in the first shortly after Keith’s blast.
Gettysburg answered with a tally in the home half, where it sent seven batters to the plate against Shane Stossel but managed just one hit. Zach Koons legged out an infield single that plated speedy Tyler Martin for the run.
Stossel had a little trouble locating as he walked two batters and hit another before eventually striking out the side. The burly righty found his groove from there, allowing only one run over the next two frames to finish with seven strikeouts before exiting prior to the fourth inning.
“Overall it was decent,” said Keith of Stossel’s debut. “I’d like to see him pound the zone a little bit more but I thought it was a good first outing for him.”
Littlestown got back on the sticks in the second, where Joe Murren knocked in a pair of runs with a deep single to left and Wertz chased home two more with a booming double to center.
Tanner Kohler walked and Jacob Crawmer was plunked to get things cooking for the Dodgers in the third. Travis Inch ripped an RBI single into right to make it 7-1. Blake Dipietro followed with a run-scoring knock to center and Sam Ziegler later drove a ball to deep left to run the visitors’ lead to 9-1.
To his credit, Rice continued to battle and found a way to solve the big Dodger bats from there. The tall righty tossed three straight shutout frames before surrendering a single run in the seventh. He threw a whopping 136 total pitches, 82 for strikes.
“We might have gotten a little lackadaisical toward the end so we have to work to have those good at-bats throughout the game,” said Keith.
The Grays, like their ironman on the mound, fought to the final out. They scratched out a run in the fifth when Martin was hit by a pitch, swiped second and eventually came home on Dustin O’Brien’s deep sacrifice fly to left.
Martin crossed the dish again in the seventh after working a walk, stealing his third base of the night and trotting home on O’Brien’s rope into left.
Martin scored all three Gettysburg runs.
For Littlestown, Keith, Murren, Wertz, Inch and Dipietro collected two hits each.
Littlestown 243 000 1 — 10 13 2
Gettysburg 100 010 1 — 3 2 3
Shane Stossel, Tom Herr (4), Justin Gladhill (6) and Blake Dipietro, Harmon, Stauffer. Corey Rice and Clien. WP: Stossel. LP: Rice. SO-BB: Stossel 7-2, Herr 1-1, Gladhill 4-2, Rice 4-2. 2B: L-Sam Wertz. HR: L-Justin Keith