Big moments for Mazonis and Pittston City/Duryea in LL semifinal victory

By Paul Sokoloski - [email protected]
Hanover Area’s Nicholas Schiel scoops up a ground ball while Pittston City/Duryea’s Mickey O’Malley hustles to third base during Thursday’s District 16 semifinal game in Duryea. - Sean McKeag | Times Leader
Pittston City/Duryea’s Silvio Giardina goes up to bat against Hanover Area during a Little League battle in Duryea. - Sean McKeag | Times Leader
Hanover Area’s Caden Hummer field’s a bouncer during a District 16 Major Baseball semifinal game against Pittston City/Duryea in Duryea. - Sean McKeag | Times Leader

DURYEA — With one mighty cut, Jeff Mazonis rediscovered his power swing.

Just in time for Pittston City/Duryea to find its way into the District 16 championship game.

Mazonis settled down to turn in a solid pitching performance after a rocky start Thursday, then rocked a two-run home run that turned out to be the difference in Pittston City/Duryea’s thrilling 6-5 upset of Hanover in a District 16 Little League Major Baseball semifinal at Duryea Little League.

“It feels great,” Mazonis said. “First time I was ever there. First time Pittston City or Duryea has made it there in a long time.”

Now it’s title time, as Pittston City/Duryea ended a 40-year drought for two combined leagues that last sent a representative to the District 16 title game when Duryea won the championship in 1978.

Pittston City/Duryea will face Plains at 8 p.m. in Monday night’s District 16 championship game, which will be televised on WQMY.

Pittston City/Duryea had a nail-biting time trying to hold off Hanover, but reliever Mickey O’Malley escaped a bases-loaded jam by inducing a game-ending forceout on a controversial and close play that had Hanover grumbling and Pittston City/Duryea breathing a big sigh of relief.

“I was getting a little nervous, yeah,” Mazonis said. “But I knew Mickey would pull us through there.”

Hanover pulled ahead early, batting around while ripping five hits to take a 3-0 lead in the first inning against Mazonis.

Colin Whitman, Cole Whitman and Jake Vigorito slammed consecutive singles to produce the first run. Cole Whitman later scored on an errant throw and Daniel Fuller singled home Nate Tomczak on a ball that glanced off the glove of Mazonis.

“First inning, I guess you can say nerves — for the coaches and kids,” Pittston City/Duryea coach Lou Lussi said.

Mazonis made a quick recovery, though.

He surrendered only Nick Schiel’s double the rest of the way, while retiring nine of 10 batters until a pair of two-out walks in the fourth inning put him at his 70-pitch limit.

“After they went through that one time, I knew how they were swinging and I knew how I wanted to pitch them,” Mazonis said. “I really just took my time, took a deep breath.”

Then he took the ball deep.

After Silvio Giardina singled and scored on a bases-loaded wild pitch in the bottom of the first inning, Pittston City/Duryea cashed in on two Hanover errors while erupting in a five-run third inning.

After Chase Montigney swiped home as part of a double steal to put Pittston City/Duryea up by a run, Mazonis delivered the big blow by blasting a two-run homer high and deep over the left field fence.

“If I get ahold of one, I know it’s going,” Mazonis said. “I was hoping, but I really knew off the bat it felt good. It was a huge momentum change in the game. It gave us the momentum to go for it.”

It was also the first home run for Mazonis during this year’s all-star tournament, after the slugger belted a few during the 2017 postseason.

“Big hit by Jeff Mazonis,” Lussi said. “I think it was a carryover from the last game, he hit the ball solid twice. And he gave us four solid (innings). “

Hanover gave Pittston City/Duryea one more big scare.

Daniel Fuller was hit by a pitch, Cody Quaglia beat out a bunt single and Colin Whitman drew a walk as Hanover filled the bases with one out in the sixth. Cole Whitman rocketed a single to center field to score one run and another scored when Jake Vigorito’s fly ball was dropped — chopping Hanover’s deficit to a run.

But O’Malley made sure it stayed that way, inducing a foul pop and a fielder’s choice to send Pittston City/Duryea to the championship game.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Lussi said. “Everyone said Hanover was the team to beat, or Mountain Top was the team to beat. Nobody talked about us. Nobody knew about us. But we knew what we had.

“I’m so proud of these kids.”

District 16

Major Baseball Semifinal

Pittston City/Duryea 6, Hanover 5

Hanover`AB`R`H`BI

Colin Whitman cf-p`2`1`1`0

Cole Whitman c`3`1`2`1

Vigorito p-3b`4`0`1`1

Tomczak 1b`4`1`0`0

Schiel ss`4`0`1`0

Noe 3b-lf`3`0`1`0

Rojas lf`0`0`0`0

Hummer lf-3b-2b`2`0`0`0

Fuller rf`1`0`1`1

Jones rf`1`1`0`0

Quaglia 2b`2`1`1`0

Garrison 2b-cf`1`0`0`0

Totals`27`5`8`3

Pittston City/Duryea`AB`R`H`BI

Borgia 3b-2b`4`0`0`0

Giardina 2b-ss`1`2`1`0

O’Malley ss-p`3`1`0`0

Montigney 1b-3b`2`1`1`1

Innamorati cf`2`0`1`0

O’Haire rf`1`0`0`0

Rusinkowitch lf`1`1`0`1

Giamber ph`1`0`0`0

Mazonis p`2`1`1`2

Ross ph`1`0`0`0

Dobrowalski lf`1`0`0`0

Benardi ph`0`0`0`0

Lussi c`2`0`1`0

Totals`21`6`5`4

Hanover`300`002 — 5

Pittston City/Duryea`105`00x — 6

2B — Schiel. HR — Mazonis.

Hanover`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Vigorito, L`2.1`4`6`1`3`3

Colin Whitman`2.2`1`0`0`4`3

Pittston City/Duryea`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Mazonis, W`3.2`6`0`0`3`3

O’Malley, S`2.1`2`2`1`3`1

Hanover Area’s Nicholas Schiel scoops up a ground ball while Pittston City/Duryea’s Mickey O’Malley hustles to third base during Thursday’s District 16 semifinal game in Duryea.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_TTL070818LLBaseball1.jpgHanover Area’s Nicholas Schiel scoops up a ground ball while Pittston City/Duryea’s Mickey O’Malley hustles to third base during Thursday’s District 16 semifinal game in Duryea. Sean McKeag | Times Leader

Pittston City/Duryea’s Silvio Giardina goes up to bat against Hanover Area during a Little League battle in Duryea.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_TTL070818LLBaseball3.jpgPittston City/Duryea’s Silvio Giardina goes up to bat against Hanover Area during a Little League battle in Duryea. Sean McKeag | Times Leader

Hanover Area’s Caden Hummer field’s a bouncer during a District 16 Major Baseball semifinal game against Pittston City/Duryea in Duryea.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_TTL070818LLBaseball2.jpgHanover Area’s Caden Hummer field’s a bouncer during a District 16 Major Baseball semifinal game against Pittston City/Duryea in Duryea. Sean McKeag | Times Leader
Resilient Mazonis pitches & hits Pittston City/Duryea into title game

By Paul Sokoloski

[email protected]

Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski

Reach Paul Sokoloski at 570-991-6392 or on Twitter @TLPaulSokoloski