Honesdale's JV baseball team is enjoying a solid season under the guidance of Mike Modrovsky
Mike Modrovsky is half a century old, but he still approaches the game of baseball with childlike enthusiasm.
"I tell the kids three things before every single game," Honesdale's veteran junior varsity coach said.
"Know your job. Do your job. Play the game like you're seven-years-old."
Coach Modrovsky wants his kids to improve as players and one day become varsity contributors. More importantly, though, he wants them to have fun.
"Life is serious enough as it is," Mike said. "When we're on the baseball field for practice or a game, I like to see the kids smiling."
Thus far this spring, that balanced approach is paying solid dividends.
A very young Hornet JV team has put together a respectable 4-5 record in Lackawanna League action.
"I really don't pay much attention to wins and losses," Coach Modrovsky said. "As long as the kids are having fun and showing some improvement, I'm a happy camper."
Honesdale's junior varsity baseball team will be back on the diamond Friday for an away game at Scranton Prep. That contest is slated for a 4 p.m. start.
The Hornets' most recent game took place Tuesday afternoon at Keith Sutton Memorial Field.
There, the Red & Black battled Delaware Valley to a 1-1 tie through four frames.
That's when the wheels came off, though, as the Warriors erupted for 12 runs in the top of the fifth en route to a Mercy Rule shortened 13-2 victory.
"We played great for the first four innings," Coach Modrovsky said. "That's the only time this year that things kind of came apart on us. We had one bad half-inning and it really cost us."
Jonathan Werner earned the starting nod and pitched four stellar innings. The sophomore righty allowed just one earned run before yielding to the bullpen in a 1-1 game.
Sadly for local fans, the young Hornet relievers just couldn't keep pace. DV sent 16 batters to the plate and scored a dozen runs in an ill-fated fifth.
Offensively, Honesdale tallied once in the bottom of the second and once in the home fifth.
Stanley Rembish ignited the first rally. The hard-nosed second sacker walked and promptly stole second. Rembish moved to third on a groundout, then scurried home on an error.
Hunter Thompson led off the fifth by reaching on another DV miscue.
Travis Carey chased him to third with a clutch pinch hit single. Moments later, Thompson scored courtesy of Brian Gibbons' RBI base knock.
On Field Leaders
Coach Modrovsky is all smiles when asked about his current crop of JVs.
"This is a great group of kids," he said. "They work awfully hard, but we have a lot of fun too. We've been competitive in just about every game we've played and that's pretty much all I can ask as a coach."
Sully Rutledge, Logan Freiermuth and Ben Corbin are emerging as JV leaders and future varsity stars.
Rutledge is a sophomore who pitches and plays several other positions.
The highlight of Sully's season so far came in a win over East Stroudsburg North. Rutledge took the hill as Honesdale's starter and turned in a dazzling effort.
He twirled a complete game, working seven innings and piling up 12 strikeouts along the way.
"Sully is sneaky fast," said Coach Modrovsky. "He has a very good curveball and excellent control. Sully is smart out there. He's a pitcher, not just a thrower."
Freiermuth is also a sophomore who pitches and plays the Hot Corner.
Logan recently authored a memorable outing against archrival Wallenpaupack Area. The fireballing righty baffled Buckhorn batters over six innings, allowing only one earned run.
"I don't think it's going to be too long before Logan is doing big things at the varsity level," said Coach Modrovsky. "He's a big, strong kid who throws very hard. Logan has a ton of potential."
Corbin is Honesdale's JV catcher. Just a freshman, Ben is improving behind the plate every day and swinging a solid stick.
"The thing I like best about Ben is how hard he works," Coach Modrovsky said. "He's already become very good at blocking balls in the dirt and his other skills are really coming along too."