TUNKHANNOCK — The big celebration for Crestwood came not at the end of the seventh inning, but the sixth.
Tunkhannock, desperate to claw back into the game with a run, appeared to do just that when Ty Weiss sent a shot to the fence in center field for a double with a runner on first.
But that first run never came. Drew Munisteri quickly tracked the ball down and fired it to cutoff man Tyler Sadvary, who completed a perfect relay to catcher Curt Yenchik. Plenty of time to gun down the man at the plate.
“Just a heck of a relay,” Crestwood coach Mark Modrovsky said. “A great play.”
It highlighted a stellar day for the Comets, who opened the District 2 Class 3A tournament with a 3-0 upset of Tunkhannock in Friday’s first round.
The 13th-seeded Comets played with the confidence of a league champion, getting a five-hit shutout from Brian Markowski, timely hitting and strong defense that saw them throw out two Tigers at the plate.
The latter play, the 8-4-2 gem in the sixth, was followed by one of Markowski’s 10 strikeouts to end the frame, sending Crestwood’s bench roaring out to greet the team as it came off the field. The Comets, who went 4-11 in the regular season, knew a win was close.
“A big one for our kids today,” Modrovsky said. “I’m proud of our kids. … They hung in there and stayed positive all year in situations where we lost a lot of close games. But they were really into it, and that’s the game of baseball.”
It helped that the Comets had managed a win over the fourth-seeded Tigers (10-5) in the regular season, holding on for a 3-2 win at home back in April.
Markowski started and won that game for Crestwood as well, but he topped himself Friday. The lefty stayed ahead in the count and threw his fastball and his curve consistently for strikes for his first complete-game win of the season.
“He definitely kept us off-balance with that curveball,” Tunkhannock coach Gary Custer said. “Kid pitched a great game.”
At the plate, Crestwood (5-11) scattered eight hits and played some masterful small ball.
All three Comets runs came on two-out RBI singles, with two of them being set up by a well-executed sacrifice bunt. Markowski (third inning), Anthony Caladie (fifth) and Elliot Snyder (sixth) knocked in the runs.
Down just 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth, Tunkhannock had runners at first and second with two outs when a grounder to first took a tough hop and bounced into the outfield. The Tigers tried to take advantage of it by waving the lead runner around third.
The throw to the plate was well in time to get the out, but Tunkhannock argued unsuccessfully that the catcher dropped the ball as he went for the tag. Instead of a 2-1 game with the heart of the order coming up, Crestwood got the third out and kept the momentum.
“We can’t leave it up to the umpire, though. You know what I mean?” Custer said. “We had (five) hits.”
Crestwood heads back on the road for Tuesday’s quarterfinals to face No. 12 Pittston Area, which also scored a first-round upset to advance.
“I think we had a lot of confidence going into this,” Markowski said. “Our record may not show it, but we lost seven one-run games. So we feel like we can play with anyone.”
District 2 Class 3A first round
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Si Bernosky c0000000
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Ryan Weiss lf3000000
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B. Markowski (W, 1-0)7.0500210
T. Weiss (L, 0-1)4.262212