Swoyersville wins tight WVALL title game over Mountain Post

By Dave Rosengrant - For Times Leade
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HUGHESTOWN – Swoyersville manager Sean Toole describes speedy outfielder Tyler O’Kane as a spark plug on the team.

The quick, 5-foot-5, No. 9 hitter can be a nightmare for pitchers when he’s on the bases.

On Sunday, in the Wyoming Valley American Legion League championship game against Mountain Post, O’Kane’s baserunning helped Swoyersville win its first league title since 1982 with a 2-1 win at the Pittston Area Primary Center.

With two outs in the bottom of the fifth and one of the team’s top hitters at the plate in Austin Sienkiewicz, O’Kane, who was on second base, took off for third.

A late jump had Toole thinking the worst. But the throw sailed into left field, allowing O’Kane to score the eventual game-winning run.

“Most of those calls (stealing bases) are called but he stole on his own right there,” Toole said. “The little guy creates energy. If I can put half of his energy inside our players I think we’d be in good shape.

“I held my breath. I’ll put it that way. Sienkiewicz is one of the best hitters in the league and has been there all year for us. It’s definitely a risky call, but it’s one of those occasions where it worked out for us.”

It wasn’t just that play that helped Swoyersville claim the tournament crown. A diving play by third baseman Tom Federici to end the second inning robbed extra bases from Tom Borum and saved a run since Mountain Post had a runner on base.

Righthander Pat Adamski also tossed a stellar game on the mound for Swoyersville, pitching a complete-game four-hitter. He walked two batters and fanned three, while relying mostly on his fastball to keep many of Mountain Post’s batted balls harmless by recording 12 infield outs.

The ending of Swoyersville’s tourney drought wasn’t because the team has been mediocre. Just the opposite. The team, which has won the state title in two of the last four years and took third last year, has been the league champion the last five years and was awarded an automatic berth to the Region 5 Tournament. Also, when the franchise was representing Plymouth it won the tournament three times from 2001-08.

Seeing live action instead of practicing the last two days will only benefit the club going forward as the regional tournament starts on Friday. Swoyersville plays Abington at 1 p.m. in Dickson City.

“It’s a fun time. I get to play more with my team and work on some stuff. So it works out,” Adamski said about being in the Wyoming Valley tournament for the first time.

Mountain Post, which also advances to regionals as the league’s No. 2 seed, got a strong pitching effort from Corey Chalk, who was battling an illness on Saturday, and gave a gutsy effort on Sunday, allowing just one earned run and five hits in five innings. After a shaky first inning when Swoyersville loaded the bases with no outs, Chalk induced a double play, which scored a run, followed by a groundball to end the inning.

“When Corey is hitting his spots – he’s been a horse for us all year – he’s as tough as it gets. He changes speeds, works the change-up in,” Mountain Post manager Tony Caladie said. “Today he said he wanted to go. I’m glad he did. He kept us in it and that’s all you can ask.”

MP plays at 4 p.m. Friday at Mid Valley High School against Susquehanna Valley runner-up Berwick. Even with the loss, Caladie is looking for his team to rebound on Friday.

“We have almost a week off, a lot of time to regroup. I wish we were actually coming out tomorrow to get rid of it quicker, but bottom line is it’s baseball,” Caladie added. “You gotta tip your cap to their pitcher. He did well today. We just made a mistake or two and couldn’t get a big hit when we needed it.”

Hazleton makes history

Prior to the championship game, Hazleton Stripes & Strikes advanced to the Region 5 Tournament for the first time in franchise history defeating Greater Pittston in an elimination game.

That game turned into a regional qualifying contest because the West Branch league only submitted one team for the regional tournament.

Stripes & Strikes got a walk-off hit from Sigui Liriano (2-for-4, 3RBI) with one out in the bottom of the seventh for a 3-2 win. The team will play West Branch champion Shamokin/Mount Carmelon at 1 p.m. Friday in regionals at Mid Valley High School.

“Over the last 12 years we got people to believe to come play legion and it’s very good for me and all my coaches, who are ex-players. So this is cool for them, too,” Hazleton manager Keith Segedy said.

Greater Pittston tied the game with two runs in the top of the seventh. taking advantage of misplays by the Stripes & Strikes defense to ruin the shutout for Gabriel Colyer, who went the distance.

Swoyersville 2, Mountain Post 1

Mountain Post`AB`R`H`BI

BCaladie ss`4`0`0`0

Bafunno rf `3`0`0`0

Darden 2b`2`1`0`0

Chalk p` 0`0`0`0

Wills dh`3`0`1`0

Wickiser 1b`3`0`1`0

Knapp lf`2`0`1`0

Borum c`3`0`0`0

SCaladie 3b`3`0`1`0

Taleroski cf`2`0`0`0

Totals`25`1`4`0

Swoyersville

Sott rf `2`1`1`0

Sienkiewicz ss`3`0`2`0

Packer c` 2`0`1`0

Ruff cf`3`0`0`0

Federici 3b`3`0`0`0

Adamski p`3`0`0`0

Bayo 2b`2`0`1`0

Kane 1b`2`0`0`0

O’Kane lf`2`1`1`0

Totals`22`2`6`0

2B: Packer

Mountain Post`000`100`0`—`1

Swoyersville`100`010`x` —`2

Mountain Post `IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Chalk (L) `5.0`5`2`1`2`4

Wills ` 1.0`1`0`0`0`2

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

Adamski (W) `7.0`4`1`1`2`3

Stripes & Strikes 3, Greater Pittston 2

Greater Pittston`AB`R`H`BI

Homza `3`0`1`0

Nardell`4`0`0`0

Jackson `3`0`2`0

Janosky`0`0`0`0

Angelella `0`0`0`0

Cherkas `3`0`0`0

McAndrew`3`1`1`0

Melberger`3`0`0`0

Wright`3`0`1`0

Ralston`1`0`0`0

Yochem`1`0`0`0

Petrucci`0`1`0`0

Nossavsage`2`0`0`0

Dillon`0`0`0`0

Weidl`0`0`0`0

Totals`26`2`5`0

Stripes & Strikes`AB`R`H`BI

Buchman`0`0`0`0

Yanuzzi `3`1`1`0

Lirano `4`0`2`3

Heim`1`0`0`0

Reed`3`0`0`0

Pozniak`3`0`0`0

Lombardo `3`0`2`0

Keselicka`0`1`0`0

Moser `0`0`0`0

Wilson`3`1`1`0

Totals`26`3`8`3

2B: Colyer, Lombardo, McAndrew

Greater Pittston`000`000`2`—`2

Stripes & Strikes`002`000`1` —`3

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

Ralston `6.0`5`2`2`0`4

Cherkas (L)` 0.1`3`1`1`1`0

Stripes & Strikes`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Colyer (W) `7.0`5`2`0`3`6

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By Dave Rosengrant

For Times Leade