Pitcher settles down in time to give Nanticoke a shot at playoff title.

Last updated: July 16. 2013 1:26AM - 2640 Views
By - psokoloski@timesleader.com - (570) 991-6392

Nanticoke's Zach Kollar, left, starts his head-first slide into third base as Tunkhannock's Josh McClain waits for the throw in a Wyoming Valley American Legion baseball elimination game Monday evening in Rice Township. Kollar was out on the play.
Nanticoke's Zach Kollar, left, starts his head-first slide into third base as Tunkhannock's Josh McClain waits for the throw in a Wyoming Valley American Legion baseball elimination game Monday evening in Rice Township. Kollar was out on the play.
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RICE TWP. — Since he didn’t pitch much during the high school baseball season, Mike Bugonovicz spent his summer trying to refamiliarize himself with the mound.

“It’s a little different for me,” Bugonovicz said. “It’s just getting back in the rhythm of pitching.”

Looks like he found it.

Bugonovicz settled down after a rocky start Monday, retiring 14 of the final 16 batters he faced at Veterans Field while leading Nanticoke past Tunkhannock, 5-2 and into the championship round of the Wyoming Valley American Legion playoff tournament.

Nanticoke, which lost earlier in the double-elimination tournament, will get its first crack at tourney unbeaten Greater Pittston at 5:30 p.m. today at Mountain Post. A victory today would give Greater Pittston the league title. If Nanticoke wins, the teams will play again Wednesday for the championship.

“Got to win two more,” Nanticoke manager Joe Yudichak said. “I have 17 guys who can trust each other and love the game, and a great coaching staff.”

Bugonovicz proved a perfect example of that faith.

After surrendering five hits and two runs while working through all kinds of trouble during the first three innings, the big righthander from Hanover Area was practically untouchable over the final four frames.

“I started executing my secondary pitches around the plate, backing them off inside,” Bugonovicz said. “They were hitting my fastball, so I figured, ‘Start working the secondary pitches.’”

It worked.

Bugonovicz didn’t surrender another hit after Josh McClain’s RBI double tied the game at 2 in the third inning, and the only baserunners he allowed from that point reached on a fourth-inning error and a seventh-inning walk.

“He came back in the middle innings and found it,” Yudichak said. “Got control of the game and didn’t let it go.”

Before that, things seemed to be careening out of control for Bugonovicz and Nanticoke.

“It got a little nerve-racking,” Bugonovicz said.

Did it ever.

Lance Sherry led off the game for Tunkhannock with a bunt single and raced home when Ty Weiss drilled a triple that rocketed to the center field wall to put Nanticoke in a 1-0 hole.

And after Bob Briggs delivered Nanticoke a 2-1 lead with a two-run double in the second inning, Tunkhannock came right back and tied the game when Weiss walked and scored on McClain’s double in the third.

But Bugonovicz never buckled.

He got two strikeouts to end the first inning and strand runners at second and third; left Cody Brown standing at third base with an inning-ending strikeout in the second; and induced a short fly ball and a ground out to keep McClain 90 feet from home plate as the third inning finished.

In other words, Bugonovicz kept the dam from breaking on Nanticoke.

“If they put the ball in play, I trust my defense,” Bugonovicz said. “After the third inning, I started settling down.”

“I’m always worried,” Yudichak said. “But you know, I sort of have a quiet confidence with Mike. He’ll come through in the clutch like that. During Legion season, he was a spot starter and a closer. He’s done everything we’ve asked of him. The reason we won (Sunday) was two-out hits. If you could prevent them, you’re going to win games.”

Nanticoke won the elimination game Monday with a bunch of hits.

Nanticoke broke the tie when Christian Pack singled, stole second and scored on a hard double by Mickey Ferrance in the third inning. Then Nanticoke tacked on two more runs when catcher Joe Yudichak and Zach Kollar delivered RBI singles to give Bugonovicz a three-run cushion in the fourth.

“That showed we would battle back,” Bugonovicz said.


Lance Sherry cf`3`1`1`0`0`0`0

Jordan Faux 2b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Ty Weiss 1b,3b`2`1`1`1`0`1`0

Josh McClain 3b`3`0`1`1`1`0`0

Alex Zaner ss,1b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Race Sick c`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Ryan Weiss lf`3`0`1`0`0`0`0

Ricky Clark rf`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

Aaron Holton ph`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

Cody Brown p,ss`3`0`1`0`0`0`0



Zach Kollar ss`3`0`2`1`1`0`0

Christian Pack 2b`3`1`2`0`0`0`0

Mickey Ferrance rf`2`0`1`1`1`0`0

Nick Deno 1b`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Mike Bugonovicz p`3`0`1`0`0`0`0

John Wickiser cf`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Jack Windt dh`3`2`2`0`0`0`0

Morgan Higgs 3b`2`1`0`0`0`0`0

Joe Yudichak c`3`1`1`1`0`0`0

Bob Briggs lf`3`0`1`2`1`0`0


LOB - Tunkhannock 6, Nanticoke 4. E - Faux, Pack. Sac - Faux, Clark, Higgs. SB - Sherry, Zaner, Brown, Ferrance, Pack, Kollar. CS - Yudichak.


Brown, L`4`10`5`5`1`0



Bugonovicz, W`7`5`2`2`3`5

WP - Bugonovicz.

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