YATESVILLE – The Pittston Area lineup became seriously shorthanded just as the Patriots entered their busiest stretch of the season.
The absences cost the Patriots in a league match Wednesday.
Going without seven potential starters, including six because of injuries, while taking the mat for the second of six matches in a nine-day stretch, Pittston Area fell just short, 40-36 at home against Wyoming Valley West in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 match.
The Patriots went into Saturday 1-2 in the division with the four-point loss and another on tiebreaker criteria.
By the time they wrestled Wednesday, the Patriots were without Jason DeBoard and Ryan Lombardo, who rank 1-2 on the team in wins this season. Chris Starinsky, who had the most wins of returning wrestlers, has been out since starting 3-0 and Brandon Goodlavage, who had the best winning percentage and the second-most wins of returnees, may wind up missing the entire season.
Tony DeMark and Allen Thomas were also out with injuries.
“All have injuries that will take some time, but they will be back by the end of the year,” Patriots coach James Woodall said after losing four of the wrestlers in the previous two competitions. “We just have to heal them up.”
Pittston Area still had a shot until Wyoming Valley West pulled out pins in consecutive close bouts at 170 and 182 to take a 40-18 lead and clinch the victory.
Garret Giza pinned Lucas Baritsky in 1:57 of a bout that was tied, 2-2. T.J. Pashinski was ahead, 4-2, when he pinned Hunter Booth in 3:10.
Losing the coin toss also cost Pittston Area a chance to dictate a key early matchup, helping put the Patriots in a 28-0 hole before they rallied.
“Give Valley West credit for making all the right decisions and putting their guys in the right spots,” Woodall said. “Most of our guys who went out there just don’t have the experience to expect them to do too much.
“A lot of these guys are first-year wrestlers, wrestling varsity, doing the best they can. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the way anyone wrestled.”
Josh McGilvary (145) and Gino Coffay (285) each had first-period pins and Pittston Area picked up four forfeits.
North Schuylkill 53, Pittston Area 15
North Schuylkill won the last nine bouts Monday night to pull away from Pittston Area for a 53-15, non-league romp.
Josh McGilvary had the only pin for the Patriots at 145. John Martinez followed with a decision.
West Scranton 69, Pittston Area 6
The Patriots lost their fourth straight since a 2-0 start, falling 69-6 on the road in a non-league match at West Scranton.
Recent lineup addition Gino Coffay improved to 6-5 with six pins at 285.
Lake-Lehman 48, Wyoming Area 24
Lake-Lehman rallied from an early deficit to post a 48-24 WVC Division 2 win at Wyoming Area Thursday.
Zach Briggs had a first-period pin at 170 to help the Warriors to a 15-9 lead after five bouts.
Pat Heck (132) and Justin Joseph (195) won decisions for Wyoming Area, which lost its second match in as many days after starting 4-0 in non-league competition.
Hanover Area 44, Wyoming Area 32
Hanover Area began with two straight first-period pins and opened an 18-point lead after three bouts on the way to a 44-32 victory that spoiled the WVC Division 2 opener for Wyoming Area Wednesday.
Justin Joseph won at 182 in just 27 seconds for the Warriors. Adam Buczynski also won by first-period pin at 195.
Patrick Heck (138) and Zach Briggs (170) won by major decisions.
Wyoming Valley Conference Tournament
Pittston Area finished eighth and Wyoming Area 10th out of 14 teams in the Wyoming Valley Conference Tournament Jan. 8-9 at Lake-Lehman.
The Patriots did not get a wrestler through the winners’ bracket and into the semifinals in the first day, but wrestled better on the second day.
Gino Coffay led the way for Pittston Area, finishing fourth at 285 pounds after winning four straight consolation bouts by pin in a total of 6:41.
Ryan Lombardo (120), Josh McGilvary (145) and Jason DeBoard (160) each won their final bouts to take fifth place.
Wyoming Area placed two wrestlers in the finals, each losing to one of the four champions from team champion Tunkhannock.
Zach Briggs lost, 2-1, in the 170-pound final against repeat champion Dalton Ray.
Tournament Outstanding Wrestler Dakota Quick pinned Patrick Heck in 2:25 of the 132-pound final.
Adam Buczynski placed third at 182 and Kendrick Beyer was fourth at 138.
Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at email@example.com.