MOOSIC — For five and a half innings, Crestwood and North Pocono matched one another pitch-for-pitch in Sunday night’s District 2 Class 5A championship game at PNC Field.
Unfortunately for the Comets, the last two half innings were different as the Trojans scored two in the bottom of the sixth for the 4-2 victory to open four days of district championship games at the home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
“It’s a tough one,” Crestwood coach Tony Caladie said. “We didn’t give them the game. We were right there. It’s just one or two plays that didn’t go our way.”
Crestwood starter Corey Chalk got the first two outs in the bottom of the sixth before showing a little fatigue. A walk to Ryan Deom was followed by a hot shot to the left side of the infield putting runners on first and third.
Caladie came out to talk to his hurler and left him in to finish the inning. But Nate McLain whacked the first pitch he saw to the opposite field off the warning track for a two-run double and the 4-2 lead.
North Pocono coach Brian Jardine loosened McLain with a quick joke in the tense situation.
“He’s a big strong kid and hit it the opposite way a long way and it couldn’t have come at a better time,” Jardine said. “He’s a senior. He’s been there. He started for us last year, played pretty well. … A couple times I can name a few at-bats he’s come up and done that where he’s given us a lead. And he did it in a real big spot today.”
Chalk, who was pitching on three-days rest for the first time this season, was stellar all evening. The senior only gave up four hits in 5 2/3 innings, yielding just one walk and fanning three. He showed solid command the whole game allowing North Pocono to just six balls hit out of the infield.
“I couldn’t ask anything more of him,” Caladie said. “Chalk has been our guy. He gave it everything he’s got. He looked good, but again it was tough luck. A play or two and he might finish that game out. He’s really been underrated this year as far as being a leader on the mound and I can’t say enough about him.”
The Trojans manufactured a run in the bottom of the fourth when Chalk hit the second batter of the inning, Dan Walsh, who stole second. The next batter was Deom, who singled up the middle for his team’s first hit and scoring Walsh for the 1-0 lead.
Crestwood answered in the next half inning tying the score at 1-1 on an unearned run. Evan Knapp started the frame with a single for the team’s first hit. After being sacrificed to second, Brett Caladie singled to right. An errant throw home allowed Knapp to score.
The team’s traded jabs again the next time around. McLain doubled to lead off the bottom of the fifth and came home on a RBI-single by Kyle Bosley for a 2-1 lead.
The Comets came back immediately in the top of the sixth by manufacturing a run of their own when Mick Bafunno singled and stole second, and scored on Knapp’s single to tie the game.
But when the Comets needed one last comeback in the seventh, they came up short.
A senior-laden team that grabbed its second straight Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 title and was hit with the injury bug this season, finishes as district runner-up for the second straight year.
“I love this group. I’ve been coaching them for more than a decade now and I’m gonna miss them,” Caladie said. “They’re a really good group of kids. And regardless of whether we won or lost, they’re always together. They’re best friends and I’m gonna miss them.”
PNC Field will host District 2 finals the next three days. Today, the Class 6A subregional final between District 4’s Williamsport and Hazleton Area will start at 6 p.m. A win by Williamsport moves the Cougars into a District 2 title game against West Scranton on Friday.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, doubleheaders will be held. In Class A, MMI takes on Forest City at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, while Lakeland faces Mid Valley in the 3A final at 7 p.m.
The WVC will be represented in both of Wednesday’s finals. At 5 p.m., sixth-seeded Northwest Area faces top-seeded Old Forge in Class 2A, while defending state champion Dallas plays Valley View at 7:30 p.m. in Wednesday’s nightcap in 4A action.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated from a previous version.
District 2 Class 5A Final
North Pocono 4, Crestwood 2
Caladie ss `3`0`1`0
Darden c` 3`0`0`0
Walsh rf `2`1`0`0
Wall 2b` 3`1`0`0
2B: McLain 2
North Pocono `IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @TLsports