First Posted: 7/23/2013
Greater Pittston is sending two teams to state tournaments in American Legion baseball.
The Greater Pittston Senior Legion team fought through a grueling, rain-delayed, double-elimination tournament that forced it into four games in the final two days. The tournament run culminated in the Region 5 championship with a victory over Swoyersville, which had entered the event with a perfect record.
Greater Pittston protected its own unbeaten record on the Prep Legion level, winning the Wyoming Valley League Tournament to improve to 25-0.
The Senior Legion team will begin state tournament play at 4 p.m. Tuesday in Boyertown against Twin Valley, the Berks County League and Region 2 champion. Greater Pittston is one of the last eight teams left in the state out of more than 400 on the Senior Legion level.
The Prep Legion team will also head to the Philadelphia suburbs for state tournament play. It will be at Spring-Ford High School in Royersford Saturday when it opens at 1 p.m. against Chester.
Both state tournaments are double-elimination events.
The Greater Pittston Youth Legion team had its season end in the Wyoming Valley League playoffs.
Jake Granteed and Trent Grove led the way as Greater Pittston won five of six games to take the Region 5 title at Hanover Area.
Granteed pitched four times, including two starts, going 1-0 with two saves while striking out 20 and walking just four.
“I haven’t played baseball with a better pitcher,” teammate Erik Walkowiak said.
Granteed also matched Grove with a team-high nine hits and two extra-base hits in the tournament, with a double and a triple.
Grove and Granteed were the only Greater Pittston players with hits in all six tournament games. Grove led the team in doubles (two), RBI (seven) and batting average (.375) in the tournament by going 9-for-24.
Joe Gavenonis and Jordan Zezza shared the team lead with seven runs scored each.
Gavenonis went 3-for-3 when Greater Pittston opened the tournament July 20 with a 5-3 win over Berwick. Zezza, who scored twice, and Walkowiak each had two hits. Dylan Maloney allowed only five hits over eight innings and Granteed pitched the ninth for the save.
Granteed struck out 10 in a 7-3 win over Jersey Shore. Marty Cirelli and Maloney each had two runs and two hits. Gavenonis had a single and a double.
After being rained out Monday, Greater Pittston dropped the winners’ bracket final to Swoyersville, 4-2, Tuesday. Grove doubled and drove in both runs while Granteed went 2-for-3 with a double.
Greater Pittston started the road back with a 9-1 win over South Scranton Tuesday night. Adam Romanowski gave up just three hits in eight innings, Mike Carey went 3-for-4 and Erik Walkowiak had three RBI with a triple.
Walkowiak started and Granteed finished the first game on the tournament’s final day and they reversed roles for the title game immediately after.
Greater Pittston outlasted Jersey Shore, 9-7, in an 11-inning elimination game to earn its title shot.
Jersey Shore led until Greater Pittston scored twice in the top of the eighth. Jersey Shore answered with a run in the bottom of the ninth for a 6-6 tie.
Greater Pittston scored three in the top of the 11th and then held on.
Grove had three hits while Granteed and Maloney had two each against Jersey Shore.
Walkowiak pitched the last 1 2/3 innings for the win.
“We were starting Wally (against Swoyersville), but we needed him to come in those last couple innings,” Greater Pittston manager Jerry Ranieli said.
Greater Pittston captured the championship July 21 with a 7-2 victory over Back Mountain.
The first-year team got a combined one-hitter from Brad Barletta and Tanner Williams in the championship game. Barletta, the winning pitcher, worked five innings. Williams finished up with two scoreless innings.
Dylan Spurlin led the offense with two hits and two runs scored. Matt Silinskie, who drove in two runs, and Williams each had doubles.
Manager Ron Silinskie credited Anthony Nardell and Mike Bonita with defensive plays that also contributed to limiting Back Mountain to one hit.
After winning its league tournament opener, Greater Pittston lost two straight games and was eliminated.