Sunrise Service closes out stellar HLBA season with a championship
A big, enthusiastic crowd turned out Tuesday to watch the 2017 Honesdale Little Baseball Association Junior Division championship game between Sunrise Service and the Dime Bank.
The Rockies and Cubs battled deep into the night in a contest that didn't even begin until 8:10 p.m. at the Scott Kinzinger Complex due to multiple weather-related postponements.
Despite the delayed start, these two teams played one of the best games of the entire HLBA season.
Sunrise Service tallied a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. The Rockies then used a combination of Gold Glove defense and dominant pitching to post an impressive 2-0 win.
Jared Ahern and Maxx Wolfenburg played the hero's roles for Sunrise Service, each delivering an RBI basehit in that fateful first frame.
Weather permitting, the HLBA's Senior Division championship game was set for Wednesday night.
Wayne Bank and Dirlam Brothers advanced to the title tilt with semifinal wins over the Giants and Phillies, respectively.
Dime Bank powered its way to a regular season Junior Division title this year and earned a top seed for its efforts.
The Cubs, who are led by manager Ryan Dressler, then punched their ticket to the finals via an electrifying 4-3 win over the Yankees in one semifinal.
Sunrise Service also turned in a stellar regular season, finishing as runner-up in the standings and taking the tournament's second seed.
Under the direction of co-co-coaches Lindsey Pender and Eric Eisele, the Rockies earned their spot in the title tilt with a 2-0 shutout of the Pirates.
Sunrise Service wasted no time in sprinting out to an early lead Tuesday.
Owen Pender led off the game by beating out an infield single. Two batters later, he scampered all the way home with the game's first run.
He did that thanks to a towering opposite field triple off the bat of southpaw slugger Jared Ahern. Moments later, he scurried in as well when Maxx Wolfenburg lined an RBI single to right.
Dime Bank starter Joey Giannetti bore down after that and limited the Rockies to just two runs. The damage had been done, though, as Sunrise Service pitchers would hold the Cubs in check all night.
Ahern drew the starting nod and would be credited with the win. Jared pitched the first and fourth innings. He combined with Pender and Wolfenburg to fashion the shutout.
Also toeing the rubber for Dime Bank were Owen Erdman, Gage Dickinson and Joel Flynn.
While offense was at a premium on this particular night, there was no shortage of defensive heroics.
Trevor Dressler made a pair of sparkling plays, each of which killed off an enemy rally.
The versatile young Cub earned a roar from the crowd when he robbed Charlie Propst of at least a single with a lunging stab of a line drive in the third.
Dressler closed out the sixth with arguably the game's biggest play.
With Rockies runners on first and second and two down, Trevor snagged a hard-hit grounder at third. He didn't hesitate, sprinting to the bag just in time to record a forceout and end the inning.
Owen Pender also came through with clutch plays.
The Rockies first baseman started an inning-ending double play in the third. Pender tracked down a flyball on the rightfield line, then alertly fired to second to double off a Cubs runner who'd wandered too far toward third.
Owen struck again in the fifth. This time, Pender knocked down a hard-hit smash, picked the ball up and barely beat the runner to the bag for the out.
Also on the agenda for HLBA players is the 2017 All-Star Tournament.
There will be two teams representing Honesdale his summer.
The 10U squad begins its gold medal quest Saturday in Clifford with a quarterfinal contest against either Delaware Valley or Mountain View.
The 12U team travels to Valley View Friday for an opening round clash with Mountain View. The winner would advance to play Forest City.
Score by Innings...
Rockies 2 0 0 0 0 0 - 2
Cubbies 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0