Tusten put put the finishing touches on a perfect season this weekend, rolling to four consecutive wins and the 2012 Wayne County Teener League title.
The Chiefs opened their tournament quest with a 10-0 shutout of Valley View, then survived an upset bid by a scrappy Waymart squad, 4-2.
On Saturday evening, Coach Joe Curreri’s lads sent ReMax spiraling into the Losers Bracket, then waited for the inevitable re-match.
“I thought even before the season started that we had the best team,” Coach Curreri told TWI Sports. “Don’t get me wrong: ReMax is very good, too. We’re just deeper. We have more experience and much more pitching.”
As it turns out, Joe’s pre-season insight proved prophetic.
ReMax emerged from the Losers Bracket final to face Tusten in the championship game Sunday at Keith Sutton Memorial Field.
Once again, the Chiefs leapt out to an early lead, then relied on power pitching and Gold Glove defense to cop another crown. With a solid 5-1 victory in hand, Tusten closed out the season with an unblemished 17-0 mark.
“I couldn’t be any prouder of these kids,” Coach Curreri said. “They rose to every challenge that was put in front of them.”
On the Hill
Pat Pierce is that rarest of teener league gems: a 4-year player.
Thanks to his fortunate birth date, Pierce enjoyed four full seasons on the Wayne County summer diamond scene. And on Sunday against the Renegades, the accrued wisdom of all that experience dazzled local fans.
Pat earned the starting nod and went the distance for a complete game decision. Pierce worked seven innings, allowed just four basehits and struck out six. While he showed great command of his fastball, it was the knuckler that baffled ReMax batters.
“I’ve been working on a knuckleball for five years,” Pat said. “My brother taught it to me and I’ve been practicing it ever since.”
Pierce’s mastery of a pitch most recently revived at the MLB level by RA Dickey left Renegade hitters flailing at the humid summer air.
“Pat was really solid out there today,” said Coach Curreri. “I have a ton of confidence in him and this is just another example why.”
Pierce was also bolstered by some terrific infield defense. On two separate occasions, the combination of Curreri, Kelly & DeGori combined to author inning-ending double plays.
Offensively, Tusten scraped out three runs in the first two innings against ReMax starter Gus Martin. A fiery righthander who deserved a better fate, Martin also pitched a complete game, but was victimized by six costly errors.
Alec Babyak paced the Chiefs’ attack. A hard-nosed catcher who also bats in the lead-off spot, Babyak reached base safely three times and scored three runs.
Pierce helped his own cause with a pair of RBI singles, one each in the second and sixth.
ReMax pushed across its lone tally in the bottom of the fifth.
Jake Halter opened the inning with a clean single. Moments later, he scamper-ed all the way home courtesy of a Donnie McGinnis RBI double up the right centerfield alley.
Alex Evanitsky and Figura accounted for the only other ReMax hits.
Score by Innings...
TUS (17-0) 1 2 0 0 1 1 0 - 5
REM (12-6) 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 - 1