Senior Legion regionals: Swoyersville rallies, holds off Berwick

By Dave Rosengrant - For Times Leader
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THROOP — Every time Berwick power hitter Austin Horsefield was at the plate, Swoyersville manager Sean Toole paced around the dugout.

So when Horsefield was up in the bottom of the seventh as the potential winning run, Toole was a bundle of nerves.

Despite facing two runners on in the seventh, Toole trusted his reliever, Tyler O’Kane, and gave a sigh of relief when Horsefield bounced out to shortstop. O’Kane followed that up with a strikeout, and Swoyersville held on to beat Berwick 5-3 on Saturday in the Region 5 American Legion Baseball Tournament.

Swoyersville will play in the winner’s bracket final today at 4 p.m. against Dickson City, which defeated Mountain Post 2-1.

“I’m definitely holding my breath when he comes up,” Toole said of Horsefield. “I had confidence in T.O. (O’Kane). They were seeing a different arm. He was keeping the ball down.”

Horsefield, a hulking first baseman for Berwick, appeared to set the tone in the game with a booming three-run home run to left field in the bottom of the first. His second home run of the tournament in as many games gave Berwick a 3-0 lead that was an early punch to the gut of Swoyersville.

“You go down 3-0 early it’s tough, but we talk about things, and there’s always one guy that’s gotta step up and play,” Toole said. “But in order to (reach) a state tournament and get through a regional, you’re gonna have adversity. When you have adversity, it matters how you respond to it.

“The way you’re beating good baseball teams is grinding through that adversity, battling back.”

Swoyersville, which has won the tournament three of the last four years, has been behind in games many times before during that run and showed its resilience.

A pair of doubles in the top of the second from Draig Ruff (2-for-4) and Dom Bayo (1-for-4) got Swoyersville on the board, cutting the lead to 3-1. That was the spark the team needed, Toole said.

“One swing here, one swing there matters in a game like this,” Toole said. “That’s a good team over there. They have a lot of good players.”

Another run-scoring double came in the third inning from Austin Sienkiewicz (2-for-4), followed by an RBI single by Ruff to tie the game at 3-3.

Jake Packer drove in the go-ahead run in the fifth on a single, while the last tally scored on a groundout in the sixth.

Meanwhile, starting pitcher Tommy Federici settled down after the first inning. Despite walking seven, he only allowed one more hit after Horsefield’s homer in the opening frame. Federici, who got in a little bit of trouble, lasted six innings and got help from his defense to strand two runners on base in the second, fifth and sixth innings.

“Tommy’s a young guy. Nothing really bothers him. He just kinda pitches his game,” Toole said. “He didn’t have his best stuff today. But he grinded through it, battled through it and came out on top.”

Swoyersville 5, Berwick 3

Swoyersville`AB`R`H`BI

Sott rf `4`2`1`0

Sienkiewicz ss`4`0`2`1

Packer 1b` 4`0`1`1

Ruff cf`4`1`2`1

Federici p`4`1`2`0

Bayo lf`4`0`1`1

Adamski 3b`4`0`1`0

Kane 2b`3`1`0`1

O’Kane p`0`0`0`0

Banas c`2`0`1`0

Totals`33`5`11`5

Berwick`AB`R`H`BI

Kishbaugh 3b`4`0`1`0

Gearinger cf `3`1`0`0

Marshman lf`1`1`0`0

Champ p` 2`0`0`0

Horsefield 1b`4`1`1`3

McCracken 2b`4`0`0`0

Markle ss`2`0`0`0

Levan c`1`0`0`0

Tanribilir rf`1`0`0`0

Totals`22`3`2`3

Swoyersville`012`011`0 — 5

Berwick`300`000`0 — 3

2B — Ruff, Bayo, Sienkiewicz; HR — Horsefield

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

Federici W `6.0`2`3`3`7`3

O’Kane S`1.0`0`0`0`2`1

Berwick `IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Champ L`5.2`10`5`4`1`3

Kishbaugh`1.1`1`0`0`1`2

https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_baseball-glove-2.jpg

By Dave Rosengrant

For Times Leader

Reach Times Leader sports at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @TLsports

Reach Times Leader sports at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @TLsports