Hundreds of local fans braved grey skies and the threat of a thunderstorm Tuesday afternoon in the hopes of seeing a classic softball game.
Ancient diamond rivals Honesdale and Paupack took the field for this early season Lackawanna League showdown.
Both teams had their sights set on a Division Two title and a win here would go a long way toward attaining that lofty goal.
Fantasy & Reality
On paper, it looked to be a great match-up.
In reality, though, Paupack's potent 1-2 punch of Brittany Guerrieri and Emily Winkler proved too much for Honesdale.
Thanks in large part to Guerrieri's pitching and Winkler's clutch hitting, the Lady Bucks dominated from first pitch to final out en route to a 13-1 victory.
Brittany was overpowering in the circle, relying on a dizzying array of pitchers to baffle Hornet hitters. It was her second mound decision in less than 24 hours.
"We were coming off a big win over DV yesterday, but I just tried to forget about that and focus on today," Guerrieri said.
"I felt really good. I threw a lot of fastballs, but pretty much all of my pitches were working. I was really comfortable out there."
While Brittany took care of the pitching, Emily provided an offensive spark.
Winkler ripped hits in each of her first two plate appearances as Paupack raced out to an early double-digit lead.
"She's an excellent hitter," Coach Dan Gumble said. "Emily is very patient at the plate. She gets deep into counts and does whatever it takes to get on base."
With this big win over their archrivals, the Lady Bucks improved their regular season record to 4-0. The Lady Bucks are now all alone atop the Division Two standings.
Page 2 of 3 - Honesdale fell to 2-2 in the league and 5-2 overall.
Both teams return to action Thursday.
The Lady Bucks host Valley View, while the Hornets look to get back on the winning track at home versus Delaware Valley.
Early & Often
Paupack jumped on Honesdale starter Faith Decker in the top of the first.
Winkler led off the game with a single and was quickly joined on the basepaths by Nicki Mann who also singled.
Lauren Goetz then executed a textbook sacrifice, moving both runners up and setting the stage for Kennedy Thomas.
One of the region's best young catchers, Thomas promptly delivered a 2-run single to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
Decker bore down and escaped without further damage, but Paupack was just getting started. The Lady Bucks would explode for eight runs in their next turn, effectively putting the game away after just two frames.
Caitlin Donahue got things going with a lead-off double. Tori Ciszak and Destiny Marut loaded the bases with back-to-back infield singles, which brought Winkler up with a chance to do some real damage.
Emily delivered once again, smoking a 2-run single to left center.
Goetz and Thomas followed with RBI singles as the flood gates opened.
By the time the inning was over, Paupack had upped its advantage to an insurmountable 10-0.
In the Circle
Staked to a double digit lead, Guerrieri shifted into cruise control.
Brittany demonstrated command of the strike zone right from the start. She did not walk a batter, allowed just a single basehit and struck out one.
Page 3 of 3 - "My drop-curve was working really well today," she said. "I had pretty good control, too. It was nice to have a big lead to work with."
As it turned out, Guerrieri's workload was minimal on this particular afternoon. Less than a day removed from a complete game effort against DV, Paupack needed its ace for only three innings.
After the Lady Bucks extended their lead to 13-0, Coach Gumble pulled Guerrieri in favor of reliever Katie Schoenagel.
The young righty pitched the final two frames and gave up Honesdale's lone run.
Megan Benson led off the home fourth by ripping a triple to left. Stacey Hart then got the Hornets on the board with an RBI single through the hole.
Schoenagel settled down after that, retiring the side and getting Honesdale 1-2-3 in the bottom of the fifth.
Winkler, Thomas, Donahue and Ciszak each roped a pair of hits for Paupack.
Guerrieri helped her own cause with an RBI triple, while RaeAnn Ehrhardt lashed a run-scoring double.
Score by Innings...
WAL (4-0) 2 8 3 0 0 x x - 13
HON (2-2) 0 0 0 1 0 x x - 1