DURYEA – Duryea Little League knew it would host the District 16-31 championship doubleheader Monday, no matter what happened in both tournaments.
The play of the Pittston City/Duryea all-stars turned it into a home-field celebration and assured that there will be more baseball ahead at the field.
“In pool play, we had three away games,” Pittston City/Duryea manager Lou Lussi said after Monday’s 6-5 victory over Plains in the District 16 final that completed the locally televised doubleheader. “I told these kids that if we got out of pool play, we were going to finish at home and that we were going to finish strong.
“It’s going to be another week of baseball. What more can you ask for?”
Jacob Dobrowalski needed just two pitches to hit two home runs and drive in five runs in Monday’s win.
In between the second-inning grand slam and the sixth-inning, game-winning solo shot that soared well over the center-field fence, Lussi pinch hit for Dobrowalski while fulfilling his substitution requirements.
“I told him, ‘don’t overswing’,” Lussi said of Dobrowalski, who came into the game struggling but spent the two days prior to the game putting in extra time in the batting cage. “With his power, it was going to go.
“And, it did.”
Even after “crushing” the ball during the extra practice, Dobrowalski said his confidence did not fully return until watching the grand slam fly out of right field.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Dobrowalski said. “This is my first district championship, so it feels amazing.”
Dobrowalski had hit three homers during regular-season play but had not connected during the first four games of the team’s 5-0 district run.
Plains rallied from five runs down, getting four runs in the bottom of the fifth, but leaving the bases loaded.
The tie lasted until Dobrowalski mashed the first pitch of the sixth.
Dobrowalski’s effort was also supported by Pittston City/Duryea’s combined hitting, pitching and fielding efforts.
Dominic Innamorati had two hits and scored the team’s first run.
Mickey O’Malley doubled in the last run of the five-run second.
Nic Borgia earned the win in relief. He came to the mound in the bottom of the fifth with the bases loaded. He walked the first batter to force in the tying run, then escaped the jam and pitched a scoreless bottom of the sixth.
Silvio Giardina, the starting pitcher, was at second base during in the fifth inning when he helped keep Plains from scoring more than four runs when his relay throw cut down a runner at third base.
Innamorati could not hold on to a sinking line drive in center field in the sixth inning, but scrambled to his feet to turn it into a harmless 8-6 fielder’s choice.
The force play turned a potential two-on, one-out situation into one on with two outs and led to O’Malley’s game-ending defensive play at shortstop. O’Malley reacted quickly to a line drive, reaching over his head to his backhand side to make the catch.
The Section 5 tournament, scheduled to start Saturday, will continue through Tuesday and Wednesday, depending on whether the champion goes undefeated. Back Mountain National, Abington American and Green Ridge join Pittston City/Duryea in the field.
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