Swoyersville Legion moves a step closer to Region 5 title

By Dave Rosengrant - For Times Leader

HUGHESTOWN — For three games in the American Legion Region 5 Tournament, Swoyersville had been waiting for that one big inning to put an opponent away early.

Despite not being able to accomplish that yet, the team is doing just fine. On Monday, Swoyersville did well once again to win its ninth straight game and reach the final day of the tournament for the fourth time in the last five years with a 6-2 win over Dickson City at Pittston Area Primary Center.

The win came despite the team leaving 10 on base and getting just one hit in 11 at bats with runners in scoring position.

“Our approach with guys on is to hunt fastballs early, be aggressive,” Swoyersville manager Sean Toole said. “I think we were a little tentative with guys in scoring position today. I think we could have put the game out of reach early on. And we let them hang around.”

The game, and the final two days of the tournament, will be held at the turf field in Hughestown after being moved from Throop due to field conditions.

Swoyersville will play Wyoming Valley rival Mountain Post Tuesday afternoon in the second half of a doubleheader. Dickson City will play Berwick in an elimination game starting at noon, with the second game following 20 minutes after the first. Mountain Post stayed alive on Monday by dispatching Hazleton Stripes & Strikes with a 4-3 win, while Berwick ousted Shamokin/Mount Carmel.

Mountain Post (15-5) is responsible for Swoyersville’s (19-1) only loss this season in their only regular season matchup. Not only that, but when the teams met last weekend in the Wyoming Valley Tournament final, Swoyersville needed a late error to pull out a one-run victory.

No matter what happens in Tuesday’s game, Swoyersville is the only team of the four remaining guaranteed to play in Tuesday’s final. Mountain Post has outscored Swoyersville 7-2 in two games.

“We can’t make mistakes. They have our number so far this season, and we gotta come out and can’t be afraid of them,” said shortstop Austin Sienkiewicz, who went 2-for-2 and scored a run on Monday. “Just show them what we have and just gotta play a good game.”

Swoyersville loaded the bases in the first and second innings but managed just two runs, getting one across on a fielder’s choice in the first and a bases-loaded walk in the second to take a 2-0 lead. The team left five runners on base in the first two innings.

The team put three runs on the board in the fifth highlighted by a sacrifice fly by Dom Bayo and a steal of home by Tommy Federici to go up 5-0.

“We’re hitting the ball hard. Everybody’s having a pretty good approach,” Sienkiewicz said. “I don’t think we really need to change anything going into (today).”

Dickson City scored a pair of runs in the fifth off Nate Baranski, who went the distance allowing nine hits and no walks. Baranski, who is a groundball pitcher, didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning and induced 10 groundouts. It was his second complete-game victory in the playoffs after shutting out Greater Pittston in the opening round of the Wyoming Valley Tournament.

“That’s just how he’s been for years,” Toole said of Baranski. “I can’t say enough about him. He’s one of the leaders on this team.”

Mountain Post, Berwick advance

Hazleton Stripes & Strikes (14-8) overcame a three-run deficit in the sixth inning against Mountain Post to tie the game at 3-3 in the seventh on a two-run double by Quest Wilson. But Mountain Post’s Don Shaw raced home on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the seventh for the walk-off 4-3 win to stay alive.

Berwick stayed alive in the tournament by clubbing returning regional runner-up Shamokin/Mount Carmel 13-3 in five innings.

Swoyersville 6, Dickson City 2


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Dickson City`000`002`0 — 2


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By Dave Rosengrant

For Times Leader