Last updated: June 03. 2013 1:20AM - 3420 Views
By - dlevarse@civitasmedia.com - (570) 991-6396

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MOOSIC — It’s an all-star game. It’s extra innings. There are two outs. There’s a man on and the Wyoming Valley Conference is down by two.

Swing for the fences? No question.

“Oh yeah,” T.J. Lashock said. “First-pitch fastball. I was sitting on it. It was high, chest-high. Just got out a little early on it.”

For the briefest of moments, it looked like Lashock had managed to extend the inaugural Field of Dreams Game at PNC Field even longer. But the Berwick standout’s powerful shot landed foul, just short of the wall in left.

The WVC squad had already rallied once on Sunday, but the second attempt narrowly missed the mark as the Lackawanna League held on for an 8-6 win in eight innings.

A few dozen of the top seniors in District 2 got to end their careers in style, playing in front of friends and family at the newly refurbished stadium in Moosic. And the players didn’t disappoint as the WVC All-Stars scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game up at 6-6.

Valley View’s Liam Callejas came through with an RBI single in the top of the eighth and later scored on a balk to give Lackawanna the victory.

But the WVC had life in the home half thanks to a leadoff walk by Hanover Area’s Mickey Ferrence. After a pair of groundouts, Lashock came up and came close to sending the game into a ninth inning at the least.

“I hit it, but I saw it curve right away,” said Lashock, who had tied the game with an RBI single in his previous at-bat. “I was like, ‘Mmm — I wish I could have that pitch back.’”

Pittston Area’s Paul Zaffuto, who coached the WVC squad, had a good look at it from his spot along the the third-base line.

“Ferrence was on third and I just told him, ‘That’s all right, buddy. Don’t sweat it. Because we’re going long right here.’ The ball didn’t even leave the bat and I go, ‘Here it comes!’

“Just missed that one.”

It was an entertaining start for the event, which pitted rosters of 20 seniors from each league against each other.

Three Wyoming Valley West players — Nick Hogan, Mike Leonard and Joe Pechulis — were in the dugout for the game but were ineligible to play because the Spartans’ season is still alive as they open the PIAA tournament today.

Wyoming Area’s Trent Grove, Tunkhannock’s Jeremy Lee and Crestwood’s Drew Munisteri were selected to fill their spots on the roster. All 20 WVC players got in the game and 18 had a plate appearance.

“Boy, what fun. What fun,” Zaffuto said. “I had fun from the time I showed up today. Throwing batting practice inside this facility, just throwing to some guys that are really ripping the ball.

“We had 20 guys on the team, and all 20 were players. I asked them before the game that no matter what happens, they just hustle and give me everything that they got. Stay in the game and stay positive. And they did it.”

Held to just two hits through five innings, the WVC trailed 6-1 headed into in the bottom of the sixth. The lone run came on an error in the fourth that scored Dallas’ Greg Petorak.

Wyoming Area’s Bart Chupka added on in the sixth with a single that drove in Warriors teammate Jake Granteed. A Ferrence groundout brought home Grove.

With two outs, Lackawanna couldn’t handle a grounder by Berwick’s Will Morales, allowing Tunkhannock’s Ty Weiss to score. Chupka also scored on the play when the initial throw to the plate was off the mark.

Lashock’s hit then scored Morales to knot it up at 6-6.

“This is great,” Lashock said. “I dreamed about playing here since I was a little kid. Now I got to actually do it. … It was a great atmosphere and I’m really proud of my team. Just had a great time.”

Players and coaches alike are hopeful the game can continue.

WVC seniors went several years without a local all-star game to play in the last decade. Two years ago, coaches at Hanover Area helped resurrect the tradition in the form of an All-WVC senior game that donated proceeds to charity.

Now the entire district has something to build on with the Field of Dreams Game.

“Oh, I hope it keeps going,” Zaffuto said. “Even if I’m not coaching, I would love to see my players play in it.”

Lackawanna League 8, Wyoming Valley Conference 6 (8 inn.)

Field of Dreams Game at PNC Field


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