Rusty Palmer's used the same recipe that's served so well throughout the 2012 Honesdale Little Baseball Association season. The Bucs received gutsy pitching from Grady Birmelin and clutch hitting from Max Land...then played solid defense throughout en route to the  Senior Division championship.

On a blistering hot summer evening and with an overflow crowd looking on, Rusty Palmer’s defeated Wayne Bank to capture the 2012 Honesdale Little Baseball Association’s Senior Division championship.

The Pirates spotted the Dodgers an early run, but then surged into the lead with six runs in the middle innings. From that point on, it was up to Grady Birmelin and a Gold Glove Bucs defense to hold the fort.

Wayne Bank went down swinging, plating four runs in the final three frames, but it wasn’t enough as Coach Joe Curreri’s squad held on for a 6-5 victory.

“I’m very happy for these kids,” Coach Curreri told TWI Sports. “We improved a ton from the start of the season until now, but I?also thought we were the best team in the league.”

The Pirates proved their coach right, closing out the year with a record of 12-5 and dealing the Doodgers just their second loss of the campaign.

Clash of Titans
Wayne Bank ran roughshod over its competition this summer during regular season action.

The Dodgers scored runs at an alarming rate, finishing off the regular season with 15 victories.

On Wednesday evening at Fred Reisch Memorial Field, it seemed as though this title tilt would follow that familiar course. Anthony DeGori struck the first blow for the Dodgers, taking Birmelin deep with one out in the bottom of the first.

Trailing 1-0, it didn’t take the Bucs long to battle back and seize the lead.

Gerald Pepper led off the top of the second with a single and was quickly joined on the basepaths by Dustin Peck who also singled.

Max Land then stepped up and drilled a DeGori fastball to the base of the fence. Land’s clutch double plated both runners and gave Rusty Palmer’s a lead it never relinquished.

Birmelin walked and eventually came around to score in the third, upping the Bucs’ lead to 3-1.

The visitors exploded for three more in the visitors’ half of the fourth.

Land and Elijah Harvey each worked a free pass and scored. David Curreri smoked an RBI single and then scampered home on Nate Frigoletto’s RBI base knock.

Holding On
Birmelin looked strong on the hill, allowing just a single run in the first and another in the fourth. However, the combination of stifling heat and aggressive Wayne Bank batters began taking its toll.

The Dodgers drew within 6-4 in the bottom of the fifth when Steven Soden crushed a 2-run homer to left center.

Birmelin dug down deep, though, and survived one last rally in the sixth. Grady finished the night with nine strikeouts.

“He pitched a great game,”?said Coach Curreri. “I?really believe that pitching and defense win championships and we’ve got five strong pitchers on this team.”

David Curreri catapulted the Pirates into the title tilt with a complete game gem of his own in the semis. In that one, Rusty Palmer’s needed a desperate rally in the bottom of the sixth to deal the Tigers a 3-2 loss.

Wayne Bank defeated Elegante 17-3 in the other Senior Division semifinal.

Score by Innings...
Pirates    (12-5)  0  2  1  3  0  0 - 6
Dodgers (15-2)  1  0  0  1  2  1 - 5