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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Honesdale National Bank Hangs on to Cop HLBA Crown

  • The scrappy Phillies, seeded #4 in the Senior Division playoffs, came all the way back to win the title.
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  • For the second time in his storied coaching career, Charlie Rollison has beaten the longest of odds.
    At the end of the 2013 Honesdale Little Baseball Association regular season, Rollison's HNB squad had barely earned a spot in the Senior Division playoffs.
    In fact, the Phillies were the fourth and final team to earn their way in. And, they needed an impressive winning streak down the stretch just to qualify.
    However, as Charlie has been known to say on many occasions: Once the playoffs start, it's a brand new season for everyone.
    The scrappy Phils then went right out and proved the truth of that assertion.
    Using a combination of power pitching, Gold Glove defense and timely hitting, HNB staged back-to-back upsets of the Tigers and Pirates to seal the deal on yet another championship.
    "I'd be lying if I said I'm not a little bit surprised," a beaming Charlie said just moments after his Phils defeated the Tigers in Wednesday night's title tilt.
    "I knew at the start of the season that we had a pretty good team, but boy it was a long and winding road getting here tonight!"
    Cinderella Story
    HNB finished out the regular season with nine wins and the #4 seed in this year's tournament.
    On Monday evening, the Phils trailed the Tigers twice in the early innings before rallying to post an epic 7-5 win.
    Anthony Dell'Aquila and Jack Dennis pitched four frames each in a game that went deep into extra innings
    Dennis was particularly effective, allowing just two hits and no runs while fanning five along the way.
    These same two lads played key roles in what ultimately proved to be the game-winning rally.
    Page 2 of 3 - Dennis led off the top of the eighth with a walk, then scampered all the way home when Dell'Aquila delivered a basehit and the Tigers defense threw the ball around.
    Jack Cavanagugh paced the offensive attack in this one, reaching base safely four times with two singles and a pair of walks.
    Aidan Pietraszewski, Jimmy Ludwig, Daniel Becker and Tanner Mundy also scored for HNB.
    Grand Finale
    On the heels of this epic victory, the Phillies found themselves back in the title tilt, but extremely thin in the pitching department.
    Dell'Aquila once again took the hill as HNB's starter, but he and Dennis were limited to two frames apiece by rule.
    "We really needed Caleb Martin to step up and give us a big game," Charlie said if his young reliever. "And, wow ... he did that and a whole lot more."
    Martin came into the game in the bottom of the fifth to face the #2 Pirates and one of the league's most potent line-ups.
    All Caleb did was strike out six consecutive batters to earn the save.
    Offensively, the Pirates flexed their muscles early on with a pair of big flies.
    Andy Carroll crushed a 2-run homer in the bottom of the first, while Cade Labracio added a 2-run shot of his own in the second.
    HNB responded with a crucial 4-run uprising in the top of the third.
    Tyler Jackson ignited the rally by reaching first when he was plunked by a pitch.
    Pietraszewski, Dennis and Dell'Aquila followed with RBI doubles and suddenly the Phillies had themselves a razor-thin 5-4 advantage.
    Page 3 of 3 - Champions!
    From that point on, the tale of this game was all about two things.
    "I've always said that defense and pitching win championships," Charlie stated. "If you make all the routine plays and pitch well, the wins usually come."
    And, that's exactly what happened on this night.
    Dennis and Martin combined to strike out the last 10 batters Rusty Palmer sent to the plate.
    In addition, the Tigers didn't generate a single baserunner after the home half of the third inning.
    Score by Innings...
    HNB 1 0 4 0 0 0 - 5
    RUS 2 0 2 0 0 0 - 4

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