This year’s District 15 American Legion Baseball championship series has featured a little bit of everything.
In Tuesday’s opener, Erik Pulkkinen of Hawley and Manny Balines hooked up for a classic pitchers’ duel that ended in a 2-0 Milford victory.
On Wednesday evening, Post 311 faced elimination in Game Two of the best-of-three set. This time around, though, the Toros brought their bats and teed off on Milford pitching.
When the dust finally cleared, Hawley had earned a 13-10 win and tied the series at one game each.
“It was definitely kind of ugly, but we’ll take it,” said Coach Chad Goetz. “A win is a win...there aren’t any style points. Now, we have to get focused and take care of business tomorrow.”
Weather permitting, Post 311 was scheduled to host Game Three Thursday ev-ening on the shores of The Big Lake.
The winner of this all-important rubber match will be the District 15 champion and advance to the regional tournament, which is being played in Scranton this year.
“I’m pretty excited about our chances,” Coach Goetz said. “If we can win and get to regionals at full strength, I?think we can really make some noise.”
The Toros have piled up 15 wins to this point in the campaign. They are the #1 seed and reigning regular season champs.
Hawley went into attack mode right out of the gate on Wednesday.
After being blanked on Tuesday, the Toros erupted for eight runs in the opening four frames to take a commanding lead.
Chris Duff ignited the Post 311 offense on this particular day. The Toros’ fleet-footed lead-off man ripped three hits in four at-bats. He tallied twice and collected two RBIs.
Duff also excelled in the field, saving at least one run with a circus catch in the home third.
David Ortiz was the beneficiary of Duff’s offensive outburst. Hawley’s veteran righty drew the starting nod and battled his way into the fifth before yielding to the bullpen. Ortiz finished up with two Ks and one walk.
James Goetz had the unenviable task of coming in with the bases loaded and no one out. Thanks to a bit of guile and flat-out hard work, Goetz pitched his way out of the jam and allowed just one run to score. He wound up his stint with three strikeouts and three free passes.
In the End
Zach Stauffer was the starter for Milford and eventually sustained the loss. He worked four frames before handing the ball off to reliever Sean Hiller, whoe closed things out.
Post 311 batters treated both twirlers roughly, piling up 15 hits and 13 runs. In addition to Duff, four other Toros contributed key plays to the cause.
Page 2 of 2 - Goetz, Pulkkinen and Ortiz each recorded two hits, scored two runs and posted a pair of RBIs.
Cameron Wolfson went 2-for-3 with a run scored and two RBIs, while Ciszak enjoyed a 2-for-4 day with an RBI?and a run.
Mike Henry unloaded a ground rule double in the top of the seventh.
Sammy Vargas rounded out the attack with a line single to left. Luke Camuso and Nick Denniston came off the Post 311 bench to score one run apiece.
Score by Innings...
HAW (15-3) 2 0 4 2 0 0 5 - 13
MIL (12-6) 2 0 1 1 0 3 3 - 10