Way back in the days when they played ball

June 27th, 2015 1:38 am

First Posted: 5/7/2013

Adults who are managers and coaches in Little League or other types of youth baseball often talk about how few boys play baseball compared with the past.

Well, if here’s a look deep into the past, back 100 years, and it’s not going to make the coaches feel any better about the shortage of players.

In 1913 a Greater Pittston area Sunday School League was formed. The Wyoming Methodist, Baptist and Presbyterian churches, the same three in West Pittston plus and the Congregational; the Pittston First Baptist, First Presbyterian, M.E. Methodist, Congregational, Welsh Baptist and Melanie Chapel; Hughestown St. Peter’s Lutheran and the Avoca Primitive Methodist and Langcliffe Presbyterian entered teams in the league.

That’s 16 Sunday schools. They formed 31 teams for players 12 and up in two age divisions, 16 and under and over 16. The 16 Sunday schools formed 31 teams with a total of 675 players, an average of 21 per team.

They 30-plus game schedules.

They didn’t have smartphones in 1913. Heck, they didn’t even have TV and radio. Some homes didn’t even have electricity. But kids played tons of baseball.

Local players

hot in college ball

Rob Lemoncelli, a King’s College senior from Pittston Area, had a heck of a season and career playing short stop for the Monarchs.

He made the MAC All-Freedom team this season. In 31 starts, Lemoncelli batted .320 (40-125) as the Monarchs’ leadoff hitter with 13 doubles, two home runs, 26 RBI and 28 runs. He was 6-for-7 in stolen bases. At shortstop he had a career-best .956 fielding percentage, making only seven errors in 160 chances.

Career-wise Lemoncelli batted .310 (160-516) with five home runs, 34 doubles, 78 RBI, 108 runs scored, and 24-of-29 steal attempts.

His best game might have been against Manhattanville on April 14 when he had a triple and home run, four RBI and two runs.

Another player with local ties excelling at a local college is Corey Gorman. Gorman, a left handed pitcher from Laflin and Coughlin high school, had an landmark season for Scranton University. He was named the Landmark Conference Pitcher of the Year.

Gorman is the first Scranton pitcher to be selected Landmark pitcher of the year in the six-year history of the conference.

His 3-4 record doesn’t tell the story but his 78 strikeouts and 22 walks in 63 1/3 innings does. He’ ranked ninth nationally in NCAA D-III this season in strikeouts per nine innings at 11.08.

In his career he struck out 227 in 194 1/3 innings, a rate of 10.5 per nine innings. His fastball is consistently in the 90s.

In five of his 10 starts this season he had a loss or no-decision where he pitched six or more innings allowing three or fewer runs.

In his career he started 34 games and won 15 with seven complete games. He was the Landmark Conference Pitcher of the Week twice and made the Landmark Conference Academic Honor Roll in 2012.

He is the son of Joe and Terri Gorman of Laflin, formerly from Port Griffith.

Help for Legion baseball

A couple weeks ago the Greater Pittston American Legion baseball team made a plea for a sponsor because the program has enough kids to fill two senior teams, but not enough money to run them. Now they do thanks to Highland Manor in Exeter which signed on a a fourth sponsor with Metcalf and Shaver Funeral Home, Herman Chiropractic and Atty. Mike Butera.