Greater Pittston secures Legion playoff berth

July 7th, 2015 10:27 pm

HUGHESTOWN — Greater Pittston went to the bottom of its batting order and deep into its pitching staff to secure a postseason berth in Wyoming Valley Senior American Legion baseball.

Nick Gushka and Tyler Dougherty led the offense while Brandon Charney came on in relief as Greater Pittston clinched no worse than third place in the league by rallying from five-run down against fellow playoff contender Valley on the way to a 10-7, home-field victory.

The top four teams will begin a four-team, double-elimination playoff to determine the Wyoming Valley’s two regional tournament qualifiers Saturday afternoon at Mountain Post’s home field in Rice Township.

Greater Pittston (11-6) needs only a win at last-place Mountain Post Thursday to finish alone in third place.

Nanticoke has clinched at least a first-place tie by finishing 16-2. Swoyersville (14-2) has clinched another playoff berth.

The worst remaining possibility for Greater Pittston would be a three-way tie with Tunkhannock and Valley. If that unlikely scenario or just a fourth-place tie between Tunkhannock and Valley occurs, league vice president Tom Evans said playoff game(s) to determine the four-team field would be jammed into Friday night or Saturday morning’s schedule.

Tunkhannock picked up a forfeit over Wilkes-Barre Tuesday to finish 11-7. Valley is 9-7 with games left Wednesday against Wilkes-Barre, which potentially could turn into another forfeit for the troubled franchise, and Thursday against Swoyersville on the final day of the regular season.

Gushka and Dougherty each drove in three runs from the bottom two spots in the order Tuesday.

Dougherty’s sacrifice fly capped the five-run bottom of the third to erase an early 5-0 deficit. Gushka had a sacrifice fly in the fourth to put Greater Pittston ahead to stay and Dougherty followed with a two-run double.

“We didn’t come out gunning in the first couple of innings,” Greater Pittston manager Jerry Ranieli said. “When we scored the first two runs, we got a little spark and then all of a sudden we were ready to play.

“We knew it was win or pretty much go home for the rest of the weekend.”

Gushka made sure that didn’t happen. Along with playing well defensively in a spot start at shortstop, he was 3 for 3 with a double from the eighth spot in the order.

“The bottom of the order carried the team,” Ranieli said.

Charney also did his part to make the comeback possible in just his second pitching appearance of the Legion season. He got the win by allowing just two runs on three hits in 4 1/3 innings of relief.

“We were low on arms,” Ranieli said. “He’s the star of this game.”

Evan Musto drove in two runs while Jeremy Zezza and Tyler Jackson each scored twice. They joined Gushka and Dougherty to make the bottom five spots in the order a combined 8 for 13 with five runs and nine of the 10 RBI.

Greater Pittston 10, Valley 7


Porpiglia 2b `1 `2 `0 `0

Cara 3b `3 `0 `1 `1

Panzarella ss `3 `1 `1 `1

Bersavage rf `1 `0 `0 `0

Rogers 1b, p `4 `2 `2 `1

Soto dh `4 `1 `2 `0

Heller p `0 `0 `0 `0

Stauffer p-1b `0 `0 `0` 0

Saches c `4 `0 `2 `3

Perkowsky lf `3 `1` 1` 0

Landron cf `3 `0 `1` 1

Paisley rf-ss `3 `0 `0 `0


Greater Pittston`AB`R`H`BI

Lopatka cf `3 `1 `1 `0

Homza lf `4` 1` 1` 1

Gavenonis dh `2 `2 `1` 0

Wychock p `0 `0 `0` 0

Charney p `0 `0 `0` 0

Mitchell 1b `4` 1 `0 `0

Musto c `3 `1 `1 `2

Zezza 3b `2 `2 `1 `0

Jackson rf `2 `2 `2 `1

Gushka ss `3 `0` 3` 3

Dougherty 2b `3 `0 `1 `3



Greater Pittston`005`401`x`—`10

2B — Soto, Landron, Dougherty, Jackson, Gushka. 3B – Cara, Lopatka. HR – Rogers.



Stauffer (L)`1.2`3`4`1`3`0


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


Charney (W)`4.1`3`2`2`2`4

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