Honesdale cruises to two-game sweep of 2018 finals series
The 2018 Wayne County Teener League season is now officially in the books and, for the first time since 2005, the Honesdale Stars are champions.
“It’s been quite awhile,” a smiling Coach Lee Donat said just moments after his team closed out a sweep of ReMax in the finals.
“Thirteen years is a long time to wait, but I guess it was worth it. I really had a great time coaching this team. These kids worked so hard and I‘m very happy for them.”
Honesdale put the finishing touches on its championship season Monday night with a 15-2 Mercy Rule win over the Renegades.
The Stars suffered just one loss in capturing the regular season crown, then steamrolled to an undefeated record in the playoffs.
“I knew we had the potential to be pretty special this year,” Coach Donat said. “But, we’ve had very good teams in the past that wound up in second place.
“I think the difference this time was the chemistry. These kids get along so well on and off the field.”
Honesdale finished the summer campaign with a dazzling overall record of 16-1.
Danny Becker once again drew the starting mound assignment and eventually earned the win.
The flame-throwing 15-year-old righty pitched three scoreless innings, racking up seven strikeouts along the way.
“Danny isn’t just a really good pitcher, he’s also our most vocal leader,” Coach Donat said. “He isn’t afraid to speak up and he sets a very good example for our younger kids.”
Zach Branning came on in relief of Becker and, for the second straight game, just reared back and pounded the strike zone.
Branning was one out away from putting the finishing touches on a shutout when Coach Donat made a move. He brought in 15-year-old Trevor Reed for his very first pitching experience.
Unfortunately, Reed couldn’t get the final out and handed the ball off to Timmy Jackson, who sealed the deal.
Offensively, Honesdale batters delivered all up and down the order.
Dustin Ferraro reached base four times and scored two runs. Becker helped his own cause with two tallies, while Branning and Briggs also came around twice.
Jack Cavanaugh came through with the evening’s biggest blow. The Stars’ veteran catcher came to bat with the bases loaded in the top of the third and promptly smoked a three-run double to left center.
Mark Christina, Zach Doherty, Drew Hazen, Ryan Sayers and Jackson each contributed to the cause as well.
ReMax suffered a pair of lopsided losses in the championship series, but the Renegades nevertheless enjoyed a stellar season.
No one expected this young team to advance all the way to the finals, but Coach Ed Hart’s lads peaked at the perfect time.
ReMax finished 7-6 during the regular season, then reeled off back-to-back wins to punch its ticket to the finals.
The most impressive of these victories came in the semis when the Renegades knocked off the second-seeded Eagles.
“The Renegades are always ready to play,” Coach Donat said. “Eddie Hart and Billy Phillips do an excellent job. I don’t know if there are two better coaches at this level.”
On Wednesday, though, ReMax was simply overmatched. The scrappy Renegade squad just didn’t have an answer for Honesdale’s depth and experience.
Ryan Fredo went to the hill as ReMax’s starter, but ran into trouble almost immediately. He worked into the third and was relieved by Eddie Skies.
James Potucek, Dallas Gombita and Tanner Rowles also toed the rubber for the Renegades in this one.
At the plate, Skies finally got his team on the board with an RBI single in the fifth. ReMax tallied one more run before the final out was recorded.
Paul Meagher reached base twice via a single and a walk. Jordan DeGroat and Jack Savage scored a run apiece.
Score by Innings...
HON (16-1) 2 2 8 1 2 0 x – 15
REM (9-8) 0 0 0 0 0 2 x – 2