Lady Hornets explode for home playoff win over Crestwood
There was an explosion brewing.
You could feel it in the air … a palpable electricity crackling in the dugout and in the stands … and local fans were poised to erupt.
Honesdale was hosting its first home playoff game in nearly a decade Wednesday and the Lady Hornets came out swinging.
The Red & Black were paired with Crestwood in a first round District Two game and they immediately went on the attack.
Over the course of the opening four frames, Coach Dave Patrisso's team had five runners cut down on the bases … two of them at home plate.
The Comets were reeling, but still very much alive.
“We were definitely trying to be aggressive on he bases today,” he said.
“I thought it was important that we put pressure on their defense and make them make some plays. To their credit, they made a bunch of perfect throws.”
Crestwood's luck eventually ran out, though, as Honesdale's offense finally broke through. The Lady Hornets tallied once in the fifth and then piled up nine runs in the sixth to seal the deal on a 10-0 Mercy Rule triumph.
“This was a great win for us,” Coach Patrisso said. “I'm really proud of the girls. They played a very good game today.”
With this win, the Red & Black advance to the Class 4A quarterfinals and a date with Tunkhannock.
For the first five innings of Wednesday's contest, the main storyline was a classic pitchers duel.
Senior ace Jami Lesek drew the starting nod for Honesdale, while sophomore slinger Abby Waite toed the rubber for Crestwood.
Lesek started a bit slowly this spring, but has been nothing short of dominant in recent weeks. In this one, she used a lively fastball, nasty change-up and pinpoint control to keep Comet batters off-balance.
“I don't think I've ever seen Jami pitch this well before,” Coach Patrisso said. “She's just oozing confidence right now. She's able to throw all of her pitches in any count and that's great to see.”
Lesek worked six stellar innings on this particular day. She allowed just two measly singles, didn't walk a batter and fanned five.
“For my money, Jami is one of the best pitchers around,” Coach Patrisso said. “I have complete confidence in her right now.”
For her part, Waite was walking the razor's edge all game long. She pitched out of trouble in every frame, surviving on guts and guile while her defense bailed her out time and time again.
It all came crashing down late, though, as Honesdale's relentless offensive assault finally broke the game wide open.
Alexa Jones struck the first blow for Honesdale.
The Lady Hornets' slugging third baseman blasted a solo homer to dead center leading off the bottom of the fifth.
Jones' Big Fly sent local fans into a frenzy and drew rave reviews from her veteran skipper.
“We've been waiting for Lexi to have a breakout game,” Coach Patrisso said. “She really got us going with that homerun. I really think it was the turning point in the game because we started rolling after that.”
The Lady Hornets led 1-0 after five, but it didn't take long for them to break things wide open in the home half of the sixth.
Honesdale batted around, scoring nine runs and turning what had been a pitchers duel into an old-fashioned rout.
Rembish led the overall Red & Black attack. Megan went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs. Her biggest blow came early in the sixth when she crushed a two-run homer over the wall in centerfield.
“We made a slight adjustment with Megan's stance and that seems to have helped,” Coach Patrisso said. “She's one of the best power hitters in the league and that came shining through today.”
Price also played a key role in Honesdale's late rallies. Kaitlin went 1-for-3 on the day, but reached base twice and tallied twice.
She also smoked a line drive off Waite's leg that turned into an out, but may have signaled the beginning of the end for Crestwood's pitcher.
“That was a screamer,” Coach Patrisso said. “I'm surprised she (Waite) was able to stay in the game.
“Kaitlin has been hitting in the middle of our line-up since her freshman year. She's a big-time line drive hitter who always comes through in the clutch.”
Wood also earned lavish praise from her mentor.
Sadie is one of the most versatile players in the entire Lackawanna League. She's started at five different positions this year, but has finally settled in at shortstop.
On Wednesday, she banged out three hits in four at-bats, scoring one run and driving in another.
“I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am with Sadie,” Coach Patrisso said. “She's such a great kid. She will do anything to help the team. Sadie has been a huge part in everything we've accomplished this year.”
Dell'Aquila continued her torrid hitting, bouncing back from an early whiff to hammer an RBI double off the base of the wall.
“Gina hit a homerun in her first varsity at bat,” said Coach Patrisso. “She's just so calm, cool and collected. You'd never know that she's still only a freshman. Gina has that 'X' factor. She just isn't intimidated by anyone or anything.”
Over & Out
Katie Grund, Brooke Gardas and Lesek also contributed key at-bats in the final frame.
Grund ripped a single to center that ended up plating two runs when Crestwood's centerfielder misplayed the ball.
Gardas roped a line single to left that chased home another run. Brooke went 2-for-3 on the day.
Lesek helped her own cause by beating out an infield single that plated yet another Honesdale run.
Jones closed things out with a blistering line drive double to the base of the fence in left that drove in the 10th and final run.
Rachel Daub chipped in with two hits in four trips.