Post 311 has been the class of local American Legion baseball this summer and the Toros wasted no time in proving that point Tuesday.
A scrappy Hamlin team had invaded the shores of The Big Lake for a District 15 battle, but the Rangers were simply outgunned on this particular day.
Hawley used a lethal combination of brilliant pitching, timely hitting and superb defense in rolling to a 9-1 victory.
“It was a good win,” Coach Chad Goetz told TWI Sports. “We didn’t play our best game of the year, but we did enough to win. Our pitching was solid. We allowed a bunch of baserunners, but always seemed to come up with a big play when we needed it.”
With this victory, Post 311 improved its record to a sparkling 11-2. The Toros are all alone atop the District 15 standings.
Next up for Hawley is a weekend road trip to Varden for a twinbill with these same Rangers. Game One of that double dip is slated for a noon start at Western Wayne High School.
On the Hill
Coach Goetz sent Brandon Newsome to the hill as his starter Tuesday night and the young righty rose to the challenge.
Newsome began his summer hardball season with a complete game victory over archrival Honesdale, so he was well prepared for this clash with Hamlin. Brandon used a dizzying array of breaking pitches in the early going, but began relying on his fastball more as the game progressed.
“Brandon usually has a little better control of his curve than he did today,” Coach Goetz said. “He got himself into a couple of tight spots, but he made some big pitches and got out of them.”
Control issues aside, Newsome dominated Hamlin batters. Brandon worked four scoreless innings and didn’t allow a basehit. He did walk three batters and plunk another, but compensated with seven strikeouts.
The highlight of Newsome’s mound stint came when he fanned Bob Dyer with the bases loaded in the top of the fourth.
Offensively, Hawley leapt out to an early lead and cruised to victory. The Toros nicked Dyer for a run in the home first, then tacked on four more in the bottom of the third.
Marcus Bond and Kenny Ciszak paced the Post 311 assault.
Bond pushed the lead to 3-0 with a ground single through the left side, chasing home both James Goetz and David Ortiz. Sammy Vargas followed with a run-scoring knock of his own, which chased Dyer from the game.
Nick Caucci relieved and promptly allowed an RBI groundout by Ciszak. He then enticed an inning-ending grounder, but the Rangers now trailed 5-0.
At this point, Newsome’s time on the hill was over and Coach Goetz called Ortiz out of the Hawley bullpen. David would go on to work the final three frames, allowing just one unearned run and two hits. He fanned four and issued one free pass.
“David’s been solid all season as a relief pitcher,” said Coach Goetz. “He can play a whole bunch of positions, but I’m really happy with how he comes in and closes things out for us.”
Hawley sealed the deal on this victory with four more runs down the stretch.
Dan Skibber led off the home fourth with a line drive double up the alley in right center. Post 311’s fleet-footed outfielder took third on an infield out, then scored on an error.
Skibber added an RBI in the bottom of the fifth, chasing home Ciszak with a sac fly and increasing the advantage to 7-0.
Chris Duff reached base three times via a pair of singles and a walk. The Toros’ lead-off man also scored a run, drove in another and stole two bases.
Over & Out
Hamlin tallied its lone run in the seventh.
Dyer reached on a one-out walk, then came all the way around to score courtesy of consecutive singles by Lucas Karnick and Kevin Karabin.
These were the only two hits Hamlin managed on the night. Ortiz then bore down and ended the game by inducing a fielder’s choice grounder.
Score by Innings...
HAM (4-6) 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 - 1
HAW (11-2) 1 0 4 1 2 1 x - 9