Coach Jason Kromko's Wildcats opened the Lackawanna League baseball season with a tough loss to defending champion Blue Ridge. Since that day, however, the Wildcats have reeled off four straight wins and are now tied atop the Division III standings.
It's official: Western Wayne is currently the hottest team on the Lackawanna League baseball scene.
Under the direction of Coach Jason Kromko, the Wildcats have reeled off four straight wins and are part of a 3-way tie atop the Division III standings.
Western Wayne began the season with a disappointing 3-1 loss to defending champion Blue Ridge. Since that day, however, the 'Cats have been on a roll.
The local lads blasted Forest City (18-3), then followed that up with victories over Elk Lake (13-2) and Lackawanna Trail (6-4).
Their most recent win came last Thursday against Montrose by a final score of 9-3.
"We're doing really well right now," Coach Kromko told TWI Sports. "We're pitching well, playing good defense and our offense has just exploded."
Western Wayne was set to take on Mountain View Monday, but that contest was erased by rain. It will be made up on May 3rd.
Next on the agenda for the 'Cats is a road trip to Susquehanna. The Sabers are 2-3 thus far in regular season action.
First pitch for this Division III ballgame is slated for 4:30 p.m. today.
Jason Kromko doesn't hesitate when asked to pinpoint the moment when things began turning around this spring.
According to the 'Cats coach, that moment came late in the game against Lackawanna Trail.
"They had just totally shut us down for six innings," he said. "We were down 4-0 heading into the top of the 7th. Then, for whatever reason, our bats finally came to life..."
Western Wayne erupted for six runs in that crucial frame, stunning the Lions on their home diamond at Tunnel Hill.
Casey Hobbs set the stage for this dramatic comeback. Not only did the Wildcat senior pitch brilliantly in relief of starter Austin Krompasky, but he also contributed a textbook sacrifice bunt.
With the 'Cats now trailing 4-2, Hobbs moved a pair of baserunners into scoring position by unselfishly giving himself up. Kevin Karabin delivered a 2-run double that tied the game.
Just a few minutes later, Evan Decker broke that tie with a 2-run single of his own.
Hobbs then set down the Lions in the bottom of the seventh, thus sealing the deal on what may be remembered as the biggest triumph of Western Wayne's regular season.
"I can't say enough about these kids," Coach Kromko said. "We're executing and playing sound fundamental baseball. When you do that, you give yourself a chance to win every game."
As the first half of the Lackawanna League season winds down, the 'Cats are part of a 3-way logjam atop the Division III standings. Western Wayne, Blue Ridge and Mountain View all sport identical 4-1 records.
Western Wayne leapt out to an early lead on Montrose, then coasted to a 9-3 decision.
Billy Gillette earned the starting nod in this one and eventually picked up the win. The Wildcat ace worked four scoreless frames before running into trouble in the bottom of the fifth.
Gillette handed the ball off to Nate Packer, who closed things out with three strong innings of relief. The freshman southpaw did not allow a hit or a walk and fanned five.
Offensively, Gillette helped his own cause with two hits in three at-bats. Billy is currently among the Lackawanna League leaders with a robust .600 batting average.
"He's hitting line drives all over the place," said Coach Kromko. "Billy probably isn't going to hit alot of homeruns, but he can crush the ball to either gap and drive in runs."
Brooks and Krompasky also contributed key hits in this win over the Meteors. Dakota went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, while Austin added two base knocks and a run scored.