Ranieli, Woytach, Gulius in new Legion baseball roles

By Tom Robinson - For Sunday Dispatch

Both teams were playing under new managers when Greater Pittston opened the Wyoming Valley Senior American Legion Baseball League season June 3 with an 8-0 shutout of visiting Plains.

Jon Woytach, a former assistant coach, has taken over as manager of Greater Plains.

Woytach replaces Jerry Ranieli, who added duties of Region 5 Director to his league president role after last season.

“I needed a year to get everything under my belt before I decided whether to go back to coaching,” Ranieli said.

Dom Gulius, a Pittston Area High School assistant coach along with Woytach and Ranieli, is the new manager of the Plains Senior team. He had also been coaching in the Plains Legion program.

Greater Pittston is off to a 2-2 start in the nine-team league while Plains, which draws some of its players from the Pittston Area School District, is 0-2.

After winning the opener, Greater Pittston went 1-2 while playing road games on three straight nights.

Greater Pittston lost to Mountain Post Tuesday, 4-1, then fell to Tunkhannock, 8-4, and came back to beat Nanticoke, 7-6. The team is home Sunday at 1 against Back Mountain, then Wednesday at 5:45 against Wilkes-Barre before traveling to Hazleton to play Stars & Stripes Thursday in another 5:45 game.

The regular season is scheduled to end July 9.

Greater Pittston returns a veteran team, deep in pitching.

Tyler Jackson, who pitched at Penn State-Harrisburg this spring, leads the pitching staff and is one of four postgraduates on the team.

Outfielder/leadoff hitter Steve Homza, Anthony Nardell and Lucas Jurchak are the other postgrads.

Jurchak recently returned from an arm injury to join the pitching staff that also includes Pittston Area’s top two pitchers, Hunter Ralston and Cole Cherkas, plus Wyoming Area’s Matt Wright, Toby Hallman and Dylan Melberger.

Ryan Petrucci and Zach Nossavage are the Greater Pittston catchers.

Cherkas, Wright, Hallman and Ralston all play first base.

Daniel Wiedl is the shortstop with Chase Yochem and John Angelella playing second base.

Melberger and Ralston play third base.

Alex McAndrew, who has returned from missing last season because of knee surgery, joins the outfield corps that includes Homza, Nardell, Jackson, Wright and Jimmy Dillon.

There are also nine teams in the Wyoming Valley Youth Legion league.

Greater Pittston, managed again by Lou Falzone, won its first two Youth games then dropped two straight. Plains is off to an 0-3 start.


By Tom Robinson

For Sunday Dispatch

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at sd@psdispatch.com.

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at sd@psdispatch.com.