Wyoming Area baseball falls in district semifinal nailbiter


By Derek Levarse - dlevarse@timesleader.com



Wyoming Area's Tyler Dougherty tosses the ball to third base to get out North Pocono's Sean Haddock in Thursday's high school baseball game at Atlas Field. (Pete G. Wilcox|Times Leader)


Wyoming Area's Ryan Webb fields a grounder in Thursday's high school baseball game against North Pocono at Atlas Field. (Pete G. Wilcox|Times Leader)


Wyoming Area's Tyler Dougherty tags out North Pocono's Pat Kravitz at second base in Thursday's high school baseball game at Atlas Field. (Pete G. Wilcox|Times Leader)


Northwest, Hanover reach finals

One of the Wyoming Valley Conference’s most competitive series in recent years is heading to PNC Field.

No. 7 Northwest and No. 9 Hanover Area both won their District 2 Class 2A semifinal games on Thursday to set up a rubber match on Monday, with the championship on the line.

The Rangers knocked off No. 3 Holy Cross 6-3 on the road to advance to the finals for the first time since 2008 when the program was in the Class A bracket. The Hawkeyes blanked No. 12 Riverside 8-0 at home to advance to their third straight title game.

It sets up another potential nailbiter between the Division 3 rivals, who split the regular season series. Hanover Area won 5-4 in extra innings on April 14 while Northwest prevailed 3-0 on May 12.

The Rangers have now eliminated two Lackawanna division champions, beating defending district champ Montrose on Tuesday before knocking out Holy Cross. Bryce Harrison shined against the Crusaders, going 3 for 4 with two doubles and two RBI.

Hanover Area got yet another shutout from Kyle Kowalski, who threw a one-hitter in the semifinals for the second straight season. In four career district tournament starts, Kowalski is 4-0 and has not allowed a run in 30 innings.

WEST PITTSTON — A two-strike pitch was fouled off. Then a second. Then a third.

Wyoming Area was down to its final strike of the season, but with the tying run at first, there was still a chance for the reigning two-time WVC Division 2 champs.

North Pocono found a way to shut the door.

The Trojans sealed it with a strikeout in the bottom of the seventh, knocking off the Warriors 2-1 in Thursday’s District 2 Class 3A semifinals at Atlas Field.

It was the second straight year the Warriors lost by that score in the third round to a Lackawanna League team, falling to Valley View in 2015. Coach Ron Musto said it was the fifth time total the Warriors fell short in the district semis during his two stints leading the team.

“I’ve had a lot of accomplishments coaching, but just can’t get past this game,” an emotional Musto said. “I feel like I’m responsible. Five times we’ve lost here in this game. It’s just a tough pill to swallow. A tough pill to swallow. Five times at home — just can’t get it done.

“Our kids battled all year. We had a great year. No disrespect to North Pocono, they’re a great program. But I really thought we were lined up to get over the hump here.”

Midway through the game, it felt like it might happen.

The second-seeded Warriors shook off an unearned run against them in the top of the fourth as Tyler Dougherty delivered in the home half.

Fellow senior Cory Lescavage led off the frame with a base hit and advanced to second on a ground out. With two outs, Dougherty ripped an 0-1 pitch down the line in left to tie the game up.

Lescavage, who started on the mound, proceeded to set down the Trojans with just eight pitches in the fifth, striking out two and building the Warriors’ momentum.

The bottom of the lineup proceeded to put two men on with one out in the bottom of the fifth as Aaron Lee drew a walk and Steve Homza singled. But Trojans starter Charlie Lamparter settled down and got two straight fly balls to end the threat.

North Pocono responded with an RBI double by Matt Fisch with two gone in the sixth to take the lead. Lamparter pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth before sophomore Cory Wall came on in the seventh to record his second save in as many playoff games.

“We had a lot of opportunities,” Musto said. “It was your typical high school baseball game. Never comes down to one play. I just thought it was a very well-played, well-coached game on both sides.

“Unfortunately, unless your team wins the state championship, this is what happens. I really wanted to get the kids to PNC Field.”

That trip will go instead to the Trojans, who will take on top-seeded Valley View and Virginia-bound ace Max Kranick in the 1 p.m. game on Monday.

WVC rivals Hanover Area and Northwest will open the annual four-game Memorial Day series with the 2A championship at 10 a.m. Wyoming Valley West takes on Delaware Valley in the 4A finals at 4 p.m. and the nightcap will be Blue Ridge and Forest City in the Class A game at 7 p.m.

It was an impressive rebound for North Pocono, which started the season 1-5 and was 3-6 in Lackawanna League play before winning three straight to finish at .500.

Because of the parity in Class 3A this year, that was actually enough to get the Trojans the No. 3 seed and a first-round bye. Like with Wyoming Area, there were plenty of tight games along the way.

“At one point, we lost five straight one-run games,” Trojans coach Brian Jardine said. “You try to preach to the kids that eventually, the law of averages of here, it’s gonna come back. We’re gonna win a couple of those games.

“I’d rather win them now than in the middle of April. That’s a credit to my kids. They’re a resilient group.”

Not surprisingly, both senior pitchers were efficient and in command, both allowing just four hits and one earned run.

Lescavage went the distance, striking out six in his final game for the Warriors. Lamparter fanned three in six innings of work.

“You can’t expect to go into a district semifinal and win with one run,” Musto said. “We have to score more than one run to get to a district final. You have to. And we just weren’t able to do that today, and I take full responsibility for not being able to produce more than one.”

Musto said he wasn’t sure how many more years he’d coach the Warriors this time around but said he was glad the school district “put politics aside” and gave him the opportunity to return a year ago.

“I had a point to prove and I proved it,” Musto said. “I’m happy. We did what we needed to do. Wyoming Area’s back on the map. We are a baseball program that needs to be reckoned with.

“We finished in the final four the last two years and have back-to-back conference championships. Keep politics out of it and Wyoming Area kids can be successful in anything.”

Valley View 7, Crestwood 2

The Comets struck first with a run in the top of the second, but No. 1 Valley View fired back with seven in the home half to win Thursday’s other Class 3A semifinal.

Curtis Tokach went 2 for 3 and his RBI single gave No. 5 Crestwood the brief lead. The Comets had edged WVC foes Coughlin and Berwick in the first two rounds before falling to the Cougars.

District 2 Class 3A semifinals

North Pocono 2, Wyoming Area 1

North Pocono`AB`R`H`BI

Noon cf`3`0`0`0

Kravitz ss`1`1`0`0

JWalsh rf`3`1`2`0

Fisch c`3`0`1`1

Cicerini 3b`1`0`0`0

Lamparter p`0`0`0`0

Misiura dh`2`0`0`0

Wrobleski ph`1`0`0`0

Woloszyn 1b`3`0`1`0

DWalsh pr`0`0`0`0

Haddock lf`3`0`0`0

Blaine 2b`3`0`0`0

Totals`23`2`4`1

Wyoming Area`AB`R`H`BI

Bonita cf`3`0`0`0

Lescavage p`3`1`1`0

Nardell lf`0`0`0`0

Kopcza dh`3`0`0`0

Charney 3b`3`0`1`0

Doughrty 2b-ss`2`0`1`1

CBarletta rf`3`0`0`0

Webb ss-2b`2`0`0`0

Minichello ph`1`0`0`0

Lee c`2`0`1`0

Homza 1b`3`0`1`0

Totals`25`1`5`1

North Pocono`000`101`0`—`2

Wyoming Area`000`100`0`—`1

2B — Fisch, Dougherty

N. Pocono`IP`H`R`ER`BB`K

Lmprtr (W)`6.0`4`1`1`1`3

Wall (S)`1.0`1`0`0`0`2

Wyo. Area`IP`H`R`ER`BB`K

Lescvge (L)`7.0`4`2`1`4`7

District 2 Class 2A semifinals

Hanover Area 8, Riverside 0

Riverside`AB`R`H`BI

NSottile ss`3`0`0`0

Amaral p`2`0`0`2

Muth 1b`2`0`0`0

PSottile c`3`0`1`0

Bernardi 3b`3`0`0`0

Connor 2b`3`0`0`0

Kielar cf`2`0`0`0

Quick rf`3`0`0`0

Weisenfluh lf`2`0`0`0

Totals`22`0`1`0

Hanover Area`AB`R`H`BI

Morgan cf`3`0`1`0

Clarke ss`2`1`1`1

Kowalski p`3`1`0`0

Rimmer 3b`3`1`1`0

Gately 1b`4`1`1`1

Piscotty rf`3`2`2`1

Peters c`4`1`2`2

Wheeler lf`0`0`0`0

Wasickanin dh`4`1`1`1

Windt 2b`3`0`1`2

Totals`29`8`10`8

Riverside`000`000`0`—`0

Hanover`024`002`x`—`8

2B — Peters

Riverside`IP`H`R`ER`BB`K

Amaral (L)`2.2`6`6`5`4`0

Quick`3.1`4`2`1`1`2

Hanover`IP`H`R`ER`BB`K

Kwlski (W)`7.0`1`0`0`2`6

District 2 Class 2A semifinals

Northwest 6, Holy Cross 3

Northwest`AB`R`H`BI

Evans cf`2`2`2`1

Reno ss`3`2`1`2

Boberick lf`3`0`1`0

Campbell 3b`4`0`0`0

Harrison 1b`4`0`3`2

Ford c`4`0`1`0

BriHardmn p`3`0`1`0

Godfrey rf`0`0`0`0

BraHardmn dh`1`1`0`0

Piestrak 2b`3`0`0`0

Totals`27`6`9`5

Holy Cross`AB`R`H`BI

Boyle 2b`4`0`2`2

Miller ss`2`0`0`0

AuShattin p`3`0`0`0

Backus 1b`4`0`2`0

Palmiter 4b`3`0`0`0

James c`1`0`0`0

DeGrazia c`3`0`1`0

Connolly rf`3`1`1`0

AlShattin cf`4`2`2`1

Mies lf`2`0`1`0

Totals`29`3`9`3

Northwest`202`101`0`—`6

Holy Cross`010`200`0`—`3

2B — Harrison 2, Ford, Evans; HR — AlShattin

Northwest`IP`H`R`ER`BB`K

BriHrdn (W)`5.2`7`3`2`4`0

Godfrey (S)`1.1`2`0`0`2`1

Holy Cross`IP`H`R`ER`BB`K

AuShttn (L)`3.1`6`5`4`3`5

DeGrazia`2.2`2`1`1`2`1

Palmiter`1.0`1`0`0`0`0

Wyoming Area’s Tyler Dougherty tosses the ball to third base to get out North Pocono’s Sean Haddock in Thursday’s high school baseball game at Atlas Field. (Pete G. Wilcox|Times Leader)
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_wanpbaseball01.jpgWyoming Area’s Tyler Dougherty tosses the ball to third base to get out North Pocono’s Sean Haddock in Thursday’s high school baseball game at Atlas Field. (Pete G. Wilcox|Times Leader)

Wyoming Area’s Ryan Webb fields a grounder in Thursday’s high school baseball game against North Pocono at Atlas Field. (Pete G. Wilcox|Times Leader)
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_wanpbaseball02.jpgWyoming Area’s Ryan Webb fields a grounder in Thursday’s high school baseball game against North Pocono at Atlas Field. (Pete G. Wilcox|Times Leader)

Wyoming Area’s Tyler Dougherty tags out North Pocono’s Pat Kravitz at second base in Thursday’s high school baseball game at Atlas Field. (Pete G. Wilcox|Times Leader)
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_wanpbaseball03.jpgWyoming Area’s Tyler Dougherty tags out North Pocono’s Pat Kravitz at second base in Thursday’s high school baseball game at Atlas Field. (Pete G. Wilcox|Times Leader)

By Derek Levarse

dlevarse@timesleader.com

Northwest, Hanover reach finals

One of the Wyoming Valley Conference’s most competitive series in recent years is heading to PNC Field.

No. 7 Northwest and No. 9 Hanover Area both won their District 2 Class 2A semifinal games on Thursday to set up a rubber match on Monday, with the championship on the line.

The Rangers knocked off No. 3 Holy Cross 6-3 on the road to advance to the finals for the first time since 2008 when the program was in the Class A bracket. The Hawkeyes blanked No. 12 Riverside 8-0 at home to advance to their third straight title game.

It sets up another potential nailbiter between the Division 3 rivals, who split the regular season series. Hanover Area won 5-4 in extra innings on April 14 while Northwest prevailed 3-0 on May 12.

The Rangers have now eliminated two Lackawanna division champions, beating defending district champ Montrose on Tuesday before knocking out Holy Cross. Bryce Harrison shined against the Crusaders, going 3 for 4 with two doubles and two RBI.

Hanover Area got yet another shutout from Kyle Kowalski, who threw a one-hitter in the semifinals for the second straight season. In four career district tournament starts, Kowalski is 4-0 and has not allowed a run in 30 innings.

Reach Derek Levarse at 570-991-6396 or on Twitter @TLdlevarse

Reach Derek Levarse at 570-991-6396 or on Twitter @TLdlevarse

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