Greater Pittston got off to a rough start in the Pennsylvania Region 5 American Legion Senior Baseball Tournament.
The team battled back, however, extending its season until the next-to-last day of the region tournament before being eliminated.
Greater Pittston won twice and rallied to force the elimination bracket semifinal into extra innings before finishing tied for third in the eight-team field that was chasing a region title and state tournament berth.
“It was a great tournament,” Greater Pittston manager Jerry Ranieli said. “But our offense was up and down.”
This was the third time in the last four years Greater Pittston advanced to the Region 5 Tournament.
Greater Pittston 1
Hughesville defeated Greater Pittston, 4-1, when the tournament started a day late on July 19,\ in Berwick after the Central Columbia field was unplayable on Opening Day.
Jeremy Zezza went the distance on the mound.
“He pitched very well,” Ranieli said. “He had a couple of things that just didn’t go his way.”
Greater Pittston had runners on first and third with none out in the first, then runners on second and third in the third inning without scoring.
“We couldn’t get that big hit,” Ranieli said.
Greater Pittston 5
Lucas Jurchak struck out 12 in a five-hitter while Evan Musto and Zach Lopatka led the offense when Greater Pittston bounced back to eliminate host Bloomsburg, 5-1, Monday when the tournament returned to Central Columbia.
Musto had two hits and drove in two runs while Lopatka had three hits and scored twice.
After managing just one run in each of the two previous games, Greater Pittston broke open a 2-1 game with three runs in the bottom of the eighth. Musto had a two-run single in the inning.
Joe Gavenonis also had a hit, run and RBI for Greater Pittston, which managed six hits total.
Greater Pittston 11
Dickson City 0
Winning pitcher Zach Lopatka and Nick Gushka each had three hits when Greater Pittston eliminated Dickson City, 11-0, in seven innings Tuesday.
Lopatka allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out eight in six scoreless innings. He was 3-for-5 with a double, three runs scored and an RBI.
Gushka was 3-for-3, scored twice and drove in a run.
Greater Pittston scored in all but one inning and used three runs in the top of the seventh to end the game early on the 10-run rule.
Joe Gavenonis had two hits and drove in two runs. Tyler Dougherty also had two hits while Steve Homza drove in two runs.
South Scranton 7
Greater Pittston 6
Greater Pittston battled from three runs down to force extra innings before losing to South Scranton, 7-6, in 10 innings Wednesday.
Joe Gavenonis tripled with Greater Pittston down to its last out in the ninth inning.
South Scranton pulled out the win on an Anthony Tooson sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th.
“We were down 6-3, but we didn’t quit,” Ranieli said. “We battled the whole way back, right down to the last out.”
Gavenonis finished 3-for-5 with three RBI. Tyler Dougherty had two hits and scored three runs, including the tying run on the Gavenonis triple.
Steve Homza had two hits while Zach Lopatka tripled and scored two runs.
Greater Pittston took a 2-0 lead in the fourth. South Scranton scored twice each in the fourth, fifth and sixth for a 6-3 lead.
“We gave them probably two of the first four runs, then we had another error for a run in the sixth,” Ranieli said.
Tyler Jackson worked seven innings in relief, striking out seven, including four in the bottom of the ninth when one reached on a third strike wild pitch.
Greater Pittston had a runner thrown out at the plate in the top of the 10th before South Scranton won the game in the bottom of the inning.