Big crowds turned out to witness Opening Day of the 2009 Honesdale Little Baseball Association season. Local fans were treated to three exciting Senior Division games, two of which went right down to the wire. The Dodgers, Giants and Braves all emerged victorious in Monday's Week One contests.

Hundreds of local youth hardball fans descended on the Grove Street Sports Complex Monday night to celebrate the return of the National Pastime.

The Honesdale Little Baseball Association hosted its annual Opening Day ceremonies with three games at the newly-renovated complex.

According to longtime HLBA President Charlie Rollison, all the stars are aligning for what should be a competitive season.

“This is the biggest group of kids we’ve had in many years,” Charlie told TWI Sports. “I’m really excited to get going. We had alot of people volunteer their time to work on the fields and they look great.”

Nearly 250 players will participate in the venerable league this summer. This year’s edition of the HLBA is divided into three distinct divisions: Senior, Junior and Rookie. There will be 20 teams, all sponsored by local businesses.

“The community has always been great showing its support for us,” Charlie added. “We try to teach sportsmanship and the fundamentals of the game.”

Opening Day featured a full slate of Senior Division games.

At Fred Reisch Memorial Field, the Dodgers and Phillies  played out another chapter in their long rivalry. When the dust finally cleared on this one, the Dodgers came away with a 3-2 victory.

Meanwhile, down at Joe Cobb Memorial Field, the Giants and Tigers were locked in an epic battle of their own. This one went to extra innings before the Giants emerged with a 4-3 win.

Finally, at Ed Rickard Memorial Field, the Braves were busy turning in an impressive performance. Under the direction of Manager Andy Box, the Braves handed the Pirates a 7-0 setback.

From now until the end of summer, the HLBA will host an overflow docket of regular season, play-off and tournament ballgames.

Stay tuned to TWI Sports for continuing coverage of the local youth hardball scene.

Pitching has long been a hallmark of Scott Kinzinger-coached teams...and, it appears this year’s edition of the Dodgers won’t be any different.

On Monday evening at the Reisch Field, a trio of Wayne Bank twirlers combined to no-hit the Phils. Gavin Canfield drew the starting nod and worked two innings. Pat Hart came on in relief and dominated the middle three frames. Forrest Sheard acted as closer and stifled the Phils’ final rally.

All told, these three Dodgers combined for 16 strikeouts. Hart was the most impressive, fanning all nine batters he faced in his relief stint.

Canfield scored the first run of the Senior Division season in the home first. Gavin reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and scampered home on an infield error.

HNB struck back in the top of the second.Tim Minella reached on a walk, took second on a sacrifice bunt, then moved to third on a passed ball. Minella also tallied on an error.

Wayne Bank scored what proved to be the winning runs in the fourth.

Anthony Mascari ripped a lead-off double and was joined on the basepaths by Konnor Burke. Both runners eventually sprinted home on another costly Phillies’ error.

HNB staged one last uprising in the sixth.

Sully Rutledge worked a one-out walk, then promptly swiped second and third. Moments later, he raced home on the front end of an attempted double steal. Sheard then knuckled down to fan his final batter and seal the deal on a razor-thin win.

“This is the best team I’ve had in quite awhile,” Coach Rollison said of his Phillies. “I think the Senior Division is going to be very competitive this year. Every team is strong.”

Score by Innings...
Phillies  (0-1) 0  1  0  0  0  1 - 2
Dodgers (1-0) 1  0  0  2  0  0 - 3

Tiger Trap
The Giants and Tigers went toe-to-toe through six innings Monday at Cobb Field. But, even that wasn’t enough to settle an exciting Senior Division battle.

This game required an extra frame before Elegante tallied the deciding run.

Nick Casazza worked four innings and earned the win on the mound for Elegante. Nick pitched the first three frames, then yielded to Adam Kelly, who worked the next three.

Casazza returned to the hill in the seventh and picked up the win. Nick posted seven Ks and allowed only an unearned run in the top of the first.

Kyle McGinnis started for the Tigers and lasted five innings. Don McGinnis came on in relief and absorbed the hard-luck loss.

Tyler Taninies led the Giants’ offensive assault with a 2-for-2 night. Casazza tallied a pair or runs, while Kelly plated the game-winner after walking and stealing two bases.

CJ Fritz roped a first inning RBI double for the Tigers. Ron Krempasky also lashed a two-bagger and scored on an error.

Score by Innings...
Tigers  (0-1) 1  0  0  1  0  0  1 - 3
Giants (1-0)  0  1  1  1  0  0  1 - 4

Fast Start
The Braves leapt out to a quick lead in their game with the Pirates at Rickard Field.

Dirlam Brothers pushed five runs across the plate, then cruis-ed to a 7-0 victory.

Scott Bayly led the way offensively for the Braves. The team’s lead-off hitter enjoyed a perfect 3-for-3 day at the dish. Scott roped a pair of singles and a triple, tallying twice.

Spencer Goyette chipped in with a fourth inning double that chased home a pair of insurance runs.

Gus Martin toed the rubber for Dirlam Brothers and earned the win. Gus went four innings and allowed just one hit. He was relieved by Noah Box, who worked the final two.

Nathan Redick started for the Pirates and suffered the loss. AJ Meyer also took a turn on the hill for Rusty Palmer’s.

Score by Innings...
Pirates (0-1) 0  0  0  0  0  0 - 0
Braves (1-0) 5  0  0  0  2  x - 7