Little League Baseball: Greater Pittston notches 9-6 win over Nanticoke

July 3rd, 2015 9:32 pm

By Tom Robinson

For Times Leader

NANTICOKE — The Wyoming Valley American Legion Baseball League will have a race in the final week of the season.

Greater Pittston brought first-place Nanticoke closer to the pack Friday afternoon when it jumped ahead in the top of the first inning and held on for a 9-6 victory.

Nanticoke spent the first month of the season building a 3 1/2-game lead. More than half of it was gone in a span of less than 24 hours.

An unbeaten record was spoiled after 14 straight wins with Thursday’s 7-6 home loss to previously winless Back Mountain. Third-place Greater Pittston (9-4) kept itself in the race going into another meeting with Nanticoke (14-2) last Sunday afternoon at home and a game at defending champion Swoyersville (11-2) on June 29.

Joe Gavenonis drove in three runs and Greater Pittston never trailed after the first six batters reached base in the four-run first inning.

“The first inning was the key,” Nanticoke manager Joe Yudichak said. “They didn’t get a ball out of the infield and the first (four) guys were on base.

“We struggled to get out of that inning.”

It could have been even worse.

Greater Pittston had four runs in and two men in scoring position before Nanticoke got three straight outs to escape further damage.

Zach Lopatka and Steve Homza reached on consecutive errors to start the game. Cory Lescavage beat out a bunt to load the bases and Gavenonis drew a walk for the first run.

Tyler Mitchell’s single to left field scored one run and Jeremy Zezza’s double to center brought in two more.

Winning pitcher Lucas Jurchak did his own escape act in the third inning with help from first baseman Tyler Mitchell.

John Morgan’s double made him the first of six straight Nanticoke batters to reach with one out in the third inning. An error in the middle of four walks cut the lead to 4-3 and loaded the bases.

Mitchell then snagged a soft liner and threw to second for an inning-ending double play.

Greater Pittston pulled away again with two runs in the fourth and three in the sixth.

Homza had hits in both innings. He singled in a run in the fourth before singling and scoring in the sixth on a two-run double by Gavenonis.

Jurchak retired seven straight, including half of his six strikeouts, to take a three-hitter into the bottom of the seventh.

Nanticoke rallied for three runs, including two on a Mike Bugonowicz double, but was never able to bring the tying run to the plate.

“He was pitching a great game,” Greater Pittston manager Jerry Ranieli said of Jurchak. “He was still under 100 pitches; he felt strong; and he was on full rest.”

Greater Pittston got its third straight complete game, following up Wednesday’s four-hit shutout by Zezza in a 5-0 win over Valley and keeping the rest of the staff as fresh as possible with five more games between Sunday and Friday.

The offense did its share as well.

Greater Pittston got hits from the top seven batters in the lineup. Lopatka scored three times from the leadoff spot.

Greater Pittston 9, Nanticoke 6

Greater Pittston`AB`R`H`BI

Lopatka cf `3 `3 `1 `1

Homza rf `3` 2 `2 `1

Lescavage ss `4 `1 `1` 0

Gavenonis dh `2 `1 `1 `3

Jurchak p `0 `0 `0` 0

Mitchell 1b `4 `0 `1 `1

Zezza lf `4`0 `1 `2

Musto c `4 `1 `1` 0

Gushka 3b `2 `1` 0` 0

Dougherty 2b `3 `0 `0` 0



Myers 2b `2 `1 `0` 0

Pokrinchak ph `1 `1 `1 `0

Pack ss `2 `1 `0` 1

Sulcoski c `3 `0 `0 `0

Bugonowicz 1b `3 `0 `1 `2

Blazaskie lf `3 `0 `0 `1

Wichiser p `3 `0 `1 `0

Labenski cf `0 `0 `0 `0

Reno 3b `2 `0 `0 `0

Kreitzer rf `2 `0 `0 `0

Rynkiewicz ph `1 `1 `1 `0

Morgan cf/p `2` 2` 2 `0


Greater Pittston`400`203`0`—`9


2B — Zezza, Gavenonis, Morgan, Bugnowicz.

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

Jurchak (W)`7.0`6`6`4`6`6


Wichiser (L)`6.0`8`9`5`1`3


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