A trio of battle-tested veteran ballplayers is leading the Honesdale Eagles to a memorable season in local Babe Ruth diamond competition.
The 2011 Wayne County Teener League campaign got off to a bit of a rough start for the Honesdale Eagles.
Coach Ned Sandercock’s ballclub lost two of its first three regular season games, but then things began falling into place.
Thanks in large part to the presence of three veteran players, the Eagles have reeled off five straight wins and now boast a 7-3 record.
Alex Sandercock, Mike Gombita and Ron Giblin have provided leadership both on and off the field this summer.
“They’re doing a great job,” Coach Sandercock said. “In Teeners, it’s so important to have a solid group of 15-year-olds. They really set the tone for the rest of the team.”
Honesdale’s latest triumph came Monday night at the HHS Complex. The Eagles rode a combination of solid pitching, stellar defense and timely hitting to a 6-1 win over Forest City.
The last few days in particular have been productive ones for Honesdale.
On Saturday, the Eagles swept a doubleheader from the crosstown rival Stars. Coach Sandercock’s lads won the opener, 7-2, then took the nightcap by a score of 4-1.
“We haven’t really run away with any games, but we’re playing good solid baseball,” he said. “That’s what we’re here for. We focus on the fundamentals and go from there.”
The Eagles’ battle-tested trio of 15-year-olds is testament to that fact.
Sandercock bats in the three hole for Honesdale and starts at catcher. Alex provides pop on offense and intelligence behind the plate defensively.
“The most important thing with Alex is his defense,” he said. “He’s been catching for three years now, so he brings a lot of experience. Alex handles our pitchers well and he’s really improved at throwing runners out on the bases.”
Gombita came to the Eagles after two years with the Buccaneers. Mike is a multi-faceted young man who pitches and covers huge chunks of real estate in the outfield.
“He’s been a great addition,” said Coach Sandercock. “Mike hits the ball hard. He drives in runs, but, he also steals bases. He is a very talented all-round athlete.”
Giblin also plays a vital role on this team. Ron sees action at several different positions defensively and can also pitch.
“Ronnie is a very versatile kid,” said Coach Sandercock. “He plays anywhere we ask him to. He’s the kind of role player any team needs to succeed.”
In Monday’s win over Forest City, Gombita earned the starting nod and posted the win. Mike went three innings before handing off the ball to Spencer Goyette, who also worked three. Giblin closed out the game with a scoreless seventh.
Gombita helped his own cause with an RBI single and a double. Jon Werner and Reed McLaughlin also contributed key hits to the Eagles’ cause.
Sandercock cut down three would-be base stealers in a virtuoso performance behind the plate.
Score by Innings...
FC (4-3) 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 - 1
HON (7-3) 1 0 0 4 0 1 0 - 6