Legion baseball; Baranski pitches gem in Swoyersville win over Greater Pittston

By Dave Rosengrant - For Times Leader
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HUGHESTOWN – Pitching for Wyoming Valley West this past season, Nate Baranski had a stellar campaign with an ERA just over 2.00.

The soon-to-be senior didn’t pitch too much for the Swoyersville American Legion team during the Wyoming Valley regular season. But that didn’t stop the right-hander from dominating Greater Pittston on Saturday afternoon.

Baranski tossed a four-hit complete-game shutout, walking just one and striking out nine as No. 1 seed Swoyersville sent GP to the loser’s bracket with a 7-0 win at the Pittston Area Primary Center.

With the win, Post 644 advances to today’s championship game at 2 p.m. against second-seeded Mountain Post, also in Hughestown. Mountain Post defeated Hazleton Stripes & Strikes 6-0 to reach the final. Greater Pittston and Stripes & Strikes will play an elimination contest at 11 a.m. with the winner playing the loser of the championship game at 5 p.m. for the right to advance to the Region 5 Tournament, which starts on Friday at Dickson City.

While Baranski dominated on the hill for Swoyersville, the offense certainly helped in the victory, scoring one in the bottom of the first by taking advantage of two singles and a walk. In the third inning, Swoyersville batted around, scoring four runs on six hits, highlighted by a two-run single from Pat Adamski (1 -or-2, 3 RBI) to go up 5-0. The team tacked on two more in the sixth for good measure.

“One through nine we could just rip the ball in the gap and just get everything going,” Baranski said about the team’s offense. “And that four-run third inning really got us going from there.”

That’s all Baranski needed to finish off the gem. He only allowed one runner to reach third base, and that came in the fifth inning when Anthony Nardell walked and got to third on an error. But Baranski fanned the last two batters of the inning to strand the runner there. Other than that play, only one other time did a Greater Pittston runner reach second base.

“I was getting ahead and it helps me use my whole arsenal,” Baranski added. “I was throwing a lot of two-seams on the hands, which was helping get my curveball over. I got my change-up working today too to get some strikeouts and groundballs.”

A team that finished third in the state last year after winning the state championship in 2016, Swoyersville is ready for another sustained run in 2018 with several players returning from those experienced teams.

“Any time in any sport when you have senior leadership, young guys follow the lead by example,” Swoyersville manager Sean Toole said. “Their experience really helps.”

Swoyersville 7, Greater Pittston 0

Greater Pittston`AB`R`H`BI

Melberger 3b`3`0`1`0

Homza cf `3`0`1`0

Jackson lf`3`0`0`0

McAndrew rf` 3`0`0`0

Nossavage c`0`0`0`0

Cherkas dh`3`0`0`0

Wright p`3`0`1`0

Nardell ss`3`0`1`0

Ralston 1b`3`0`0`0

Angelella 2b`2`0`0`0

Totals`26`0`4`0

Swoyersville

Sott rf `3`0`0`0

Sienkiewicz`1`2`0`0

Packer c` 3`1`2`0

Ruff cf`4`2`3`0

Federici 2b`3`1`1`1

Baranski p`0`0`0`0

Bayo dh`4`1`2`2

Adamski 3b`2`0`1`3

Kane 1b`4`0`2`0

O’Kane lf`3`0`0`1

Totals`27`7`11`7

Greater Pittston`AB`R`H`BI

No extra-base hits

Greater Pittston`000`000`0`—`0

Swoyersville`104`002`x` —`7

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

Wright (L) `4.0`9`5`5`4`3

McAndrew ` 1.1`2`2`2`3`1

Angellela`0.2`0`0`0`0`0

Swoyersville`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Baranski (W) `7.0`4`0`0`1`9

https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_Baseball-Stock.jpg

By Dave Rosengrant

For Times Leader