Greater Pittston does not offer a Prep American Legion Baseball team, so Ty Harden needed to seek an alternative to play on that level.
Harden secured a spot with Back Mountain where he became the number-one pitcher on a team that qualified for the state tournament.
Back Mountain landed a spot in the state tournament with an 18-8, five-inning romp over Abington July 22 in the third and deciding game of a playoff series between two league champions. Harden, a 13-year-old from West Wyoming, was the winning pitcher in that game.
“We got him since Wyoming Area doesn’t have a Prep team,” Back Mountain manager Mike Ropietski said. “A couple of our kids played travel baseball with him. My son played with him in the fall last year.
“He’s a really good pitcher. He’s a great kid and a good athlete.”
When not starting on the mound for the 10-1 Wyoming Valley League champions, Harden plays elsewhere on the field. He usually bats sixth or seventh in the order.
“He’s versatile,” Ropietski said. “He plays anywhere in the outfield or third base.”
The state tournament was scheduled to open Saturday at the Spring City American Legion Field in Royersford.
Plains won the first two games, went 3-2 and finished third at the Upper Perkiomen Regional, which qualified its champion for the Junior American Legion Baseball Tournament.
The tournament was held July 23-27.
Plains opened with a 13-2 win over the host team when Carl Yazstremski had five two-out RBI on a pair of doubles.
John DeLucca and Matt Lonzendorfer, two of the seven Pittston Area School District students on the team, combined to handle the pitching. DeLucca to the win, allowing just a run on four hits in four innings. Lonzendorfer got the save, giving up one hit in three innings.
Tony Egidio was 2-for-4 with a double.
Plains reached the winners’ bracket final by edging Aston-Media, 8-7, the next day.
Winning pitcher Joe Cencetti, another player from Pittston Area, had a triple, single and two RBI. T.J. Wozniak got the save.
Kyle Costello drove in three runs with a double and single.
After a rainout, Plains played twice in the same day and split.
Yazstremski had a double and single in an 11-6 loss to Downingtown. Egidio and Jaeden Davis added doubles.
The team bounced back to remain in title contention with a 4-3 win over Beech Creek.
Wozniak got the win, allowing only two hits while striking out five in five innings.
Egidio had a triple and two RBI. Josh Wychock doubled.
Eventual champion Perkiomen Valley eliminated Plains, 10-5.
Yazstremski led the offense by going 3-for-4 with a double. DeLucca, who had an inside-the-park homer, and Brandon Constantino were each 2-for-4.
Constantino, Nick Scavo, Riley Brody and Derek Cunuis were the other Pittston Area players on the team.