A scrappy Warriors squad came within one run of playing for a berth in the 12U state bracket.

In one of the tournament's most exciting games, Wyalusing and Waymart battled right down to the final out in Cal Ripken 12U action.

The Warriors came within a whisker of victory on this sizzling summer day, but saw the potential tying run gunned down at the plate on the game's last play.

"What game!" Warriors skipper Tim Hess exclaimed just moments after the dust finally settled on a wild 15-14 rollercoaster ride.

"Our goal this weekend was to go out, play hard, have fun and represent Waymart to the best of our ability. I think we achieved all those goals."

Setting the Stage

Waymart opened its gold medal quest with a lopsided loss to Valley View on Saturday, but bounced back with an inspired effort against Wyalusing Sunday.

"I'm proud of the kids," Coach Hess said. "They played hard and never gave up. There were a bunch of times that we could have just packed it in, but they refused to quit."

As The Wayne Independent went to press on Tuesday, Wyalusing was still alive for a berth in the PA state tournament.

The young Rams battled all the way back to the District Five title game via a losers bracket win over Valley View.

Weather permitting, Wyalusing was scheduled to battle undefeated Forest City in the championship game Tuesday night at Fred Reisch Memorial Field.

Game One

Waymart sprinted out to an early lead in its opening game Saturday afternoon.

The Warriors plated two runs in the bottom of the first versus Valley View.

Ben Burkhardt took the hill as Waymart's starting pitcher and worked into the fourth inning.

Brandon Garnett came on in relief, then handed the ball off to John Bateman.

Kobe Sauter ignited the Warriors' initial rally with a one out single in the first.

Danny Boots followed with a base knock of his own, putting runners at the corners.

After Sean Holley walked to load the bases, Bateman watched a ball and a strike, then blasted a double. Both Sauter and Boots scampered home, giving Waymart an early 2-0 lead.

Sadly for Warriors fans, this was the only offense their team would generate all game long. Valley View pulled within 2-1 in the top of the third, then exploded for 10 runs in the final two frames.

Sebastian Krahl did the majority of damage for the winners.

Valley View's lead-off man crushed two homers, scored three runs and collected four RBIs.

Game Two

Wyalusing appeared to be in complete control Sunday, building a 7-0 lead after two innings.

However, Waymart came roaring back late in the game. The Warriors scored all 14 of their runs in the last four frames before finally running out of gas.

Holley was the hitting star of this game for the local lads. Sean worked a walk in his first at bat, then ripped a single in his second

Holley saved his best for the clutch situations, though

Sean hammered a 3-run homer deep over the right field wall in the fourth, then followed that up with a 2-run double in the fifth.

"Sean can really hit the ball," Coach Hess said. "He always makes contact. Sean is our clean-up hitter and catcher, so you know he's got to be a tough kid."

TJ Hess earned the starting nod for Waymart and battled hard through five eventful innings.

Bateman came out of the Warriors bullpen to work the sixth inning.

"TJ has a nice little two seam fastball and his change-up is coming along pretty well too," said Coach Hess. "TJ tries to change speeds and keep people off balance out there."

Sauter also earned high marks from his mentor.

Kobe catalyzed a rally in each of his last three plate appearances. Waymart's lightning quick outfielder was cut down at the dish in a cloud of dust for the final out of the game.

"It doesn't get any more exciting than that ... a bang-bang play at the plate to end the game," said Coach Hess

"Kobe is very quick and a darned good outfielder. He has a really bright future in baseball."

Jake Doyle paced the Wyalusing attack.

The Rams' pitcher led off the game with a homer. He reached base safely five times, scored four runs and drove in three

Score by Innings...

WYA 1 0 6 1 4 3 - 15

WAY 0 0 2 6 2 4 - 14