Grove leads team into collision with Swoyersville in today’s winners’ bracket final.

Last updated: July 22. 2013 12:54AM - 2774 Views
By - psokoloski@timesleader.com - (570) 991-6392

Pittston Area Pitcher Justin Martinelli was to late on the tag at third to tag out the Jersey Shore player during the winners' bracket finals of the Region 5 American Legion Baseball Tournament Sunday in Hanover Township.
Pittston Area Pitcher Justin Martinelli was to late on the tag at third to tag out the Jersey Shore player during the winners' bracket finals of the Region 5 American Legion Baseball Tournament Sunday in Hanover Township.
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HANOVER TWP. - Whether he was scurrying around the basepaths in a game of cat-and-mouse or crashing into the catcher, Trent Grove was intent on changing the game with his legs.

Jake Granteed kept control of it with his arm.

And Marty Cirelli kept affecting it with his bat.

One way or another, Greater Pittston insisted on chasing a berth in the winners’ bracket finals of the Region 5 American Legion Baseball Tournament.

And Grove got them off and running, using two pivotal baserunning plays to help Greater Pittston defeat Jersey Shore, 7-2 Sunday at the Hanover Area High School baseball field.

That put Greater Pittston in a winners’ bracket matchup against unbeaten Swoyersville at 4:30 p.m. today at the Hanover Area field.

“I would call it aggressive,” Grove said of his style of scrambling around the bases.

Greater Pittston nearly called it disastrous.

With the scored tied 1-1 in the fourth inning, Cirelli lofted a one-out, bases-loaded fly ball to short center field when Grove tagged up at second base and began charging toward third.

Problem was, his teammate standing on third base, Dylan Maloney, wasn’t moving.

So Grove headed back toward second, but got trapped in a frenetic rundown along the way.

“I tried to make the best of a bad situation,” Grove said.

It couldn’t have turned out better for Greater Pittston.

Grove stayed in the doggy chase long enough for Maloney to make a move toward the plate. And not only did Maloney score the run that put Greater Pittston ahead for good, but Grove also dove safely back to second base on the play.

“We were just trying to draw a throw, and he went a little too far,” Greater Pittston manager Jerry Ranieli said of Grove’s gaffe that turned into a stroke of genius. “He did the smart thing, he got in a doggy. He was smart enough to stay in the doggy so we could score the run.”

“That was big in this game,” Grove said. “That play turned the game around.”

A little later, Grove turned his counterpart around while scoring himself on another unconventional baserunning play.

The burly catcher blasted a run-scoring double in the sixth inning to give Greater Pittston a 3-1 lead, then charged toward the home on Cirelli’s two-out single. When he found the plate blocked by Jersey Shore catcher Eric Huling just as the throw was arriving, Grove unleashed a hard slide that knocked Huling across the batters’ box to score Greater Pittston’s fourth run.

“I’m a catcher, I’ve experienced that play myself,” Grove said. “He was blocking the plate. I just slid as hard as I can.”

A little too hard to suit Jersey Shore’s fans, who expressed outrage over the violent collision.

“I saw it as a good baseball play,” Ranieli said. “The catcher even said, ‘That’s the job.’ He (Grove) went at the plate, slid feet-first. They’re not supposed to block the plate without the ball.”

“I’m not a dirty player,” Grove said. “I got him with the slide. I crossed my legs back and just tried to get to the base.”

Cirelli got the bottom of Greater Pittston’s lineup going, as his second RBI scored Grove. Then Cirelli scored two runs on his own from the eighth spot in the batting order, coming home on an error in that sixth inning and scoring on a fielder’s choice in Greater Pittston’s two-run eighth.

The guy ahead of him in the order, Justin Martinelli, also had two singles, scored a run in the eighth inning and knocked Greater Pittston’s first one in during the fourth.

“This is a team tournament,” Ranieli said. “Your 2, 3 and 4 hitters aren’t going to carry you all the time. You need everyone in the lineup. That’s how you win these regionals, these big tournaments.”

Greater Pittston won with a great game from Granteed, who worked a complete-game six-hitter while striking out 10. He was touched for one unearned run in the third inning, and didn’t allow another until Greater Pittston had built a 7-1 lead by the bottom of the eighth.

“He was dealing it,” Grove said. “I played high school ball with him at Wyoming Area, he’s really come together as a pitcher in the last couple years. He came out to play today.”

“From so many angles, he had them off-balance,” Ranieli said of Granteed. “They had no idea what was coming or where it was coming from.”

It all had Greater Pittston going into a rematch with 23-0 Swoyersville, which won two one-run games when the teams played during the Wyoming Valley league’s regular season.

“We’re going for Swoyersville (today), the 23-0 team,” Grove said.

Greater Pittston`AB`R`H`RBI`2B`3B`HR

Jordan Zezza rf`5`0`0`0`0`0`0

Mike Carey 2b`5`0`0`0`0`0`0

Jake Granteed p`5`0`1`0`0`0`0

Joe Gavenonis 3b`3`1`2`0`1`0`0

Dylan Maloney 1b`4`2`2`0`0`0`0

Trent Grove c`4`1`1`1`1`0`0

Justin Martinelli ss`4`1`2`1`0`0`0

Marty Cirelli lf`3`2`2`2`0`0`0

Eric Walkowiak cf`4`0`1`0`0`0`0


Jersey Shore`AB`R`H`RBI`2B`3B`HR

Colton Potter ss`5`1`2`0`0`0`0

Boone Costa cf`4`0`1`0`0`0`0

Christian Rishel rf`4`0`2`1`1`0`0

Cody Bradley rf`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Zach Miller lf`4`0`0`0`0`0`0

Zach DePasqua 3b`3`1`0`0`0`0`0

Eric Huling c`4`0`1`0`0`0`0

Chris Glunk 1b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Jordan Bargges 1b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Travis Eisworth p`2`1`0`0`0`0`0

Dylan Hamm p`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

Trey Newcomer 2b`3`0`0`0`0`0`0


Greater Pittston`000`203`020 - 7

Jersey Shore`001`000`011 - 3

LOB - Greater Pittston 8, Jersey Shore 7. DP - Greater Pittston 1. E - Martinelli 3, Carey 2, Newcomer, Glunk, Huling, Rishel. Sac - Newcomer. SF - Cirelli. SB - Walkowiak. CS - Walkowiak.

Greater Pittston`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Granteed, W`9`6`3`1`2`10

Jersey Shore`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Eisworth, L`8`10`7`5`1`3


HBP - Maloney (by Eisworth), Grove (by Eisworth). PB - Grove. WP - Granteed.

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