Local Teener League teams battle it out down the stretch
Re-Max battled North Pocono to a near-stalemate through five innings Monday night in Wayne County Teener League baseball action.
The Renegades and Blue Demons each tallied three runs in the first frame, then took turns thrilling the big crowd with power pitching, Gold Glove defense and clutch hitting.
Sadly for local fans, Re-Max simply ran out of gas late. North Pocono erupted for eight runs in the final two innings en route to an eventual 14-4 decision.
“Even though we lost, the kids never gave up,” Coach Ed Hart said just moments after the game. “We made some bad baserunning mistakes early on and our pitchers gave up too many walk. That really hurt.
“But, we never stopped battling and that's definitely encouraging.”
With the loss, ReMax saw its record fall to 5-5 on the season. North Pocono improved to 4-7.
Next up for the Renegades is a Thursday evening battle with Forest City. First pitch for this contest is slated for 6 p.m. back at Beach Lake.
“I just want the kids to forget about this game,” said Coach Hart. “We need to put this one behind us and focus a little more on our fundamentals.”
On the Field
North Pocono wasted no time in breaking out the bats on Monday evening.
The Blue Demons scored three runs in the top of the first, chasing ReMax starter Colby Gregory from the game. He was relieved by Ryan Fredo, the second of five pitchers Coach Hart would use in this one.
ReMax hurlers issued five walks in the opening frame, three of which resulted in runs: Alex Pagotto, Tom Thurber and Nick Pagotto all tallied.
Foytack took the hill in the bottom of the first, but North Pocono's starter ran into trouble as well.
Eddie Skies delivered the big blow, lashing a two-out, two-run single to center.
“Eddie did a great job all around today,” Coach Hart said of his talented 13-year-old. “He pitched for the first time, played good defense and had three hits.”
The defensive highlight of the game involved Skies and brought a rousing end to the second inning. Eddie snared a relay throw from centerfielder Devin Gonzalez and unleashed a strike to Justin Mackle at third base, who applied the tag for the final out.
North Pocono took the lead for good in the top of the third. Brooks Hanna came through with the key hit, slapping a bases-loaded, two-run single to center.
The Renegades drew to within one at 5-4 in the home half of the frame, but that's as close at they'd get the rest of the way.
Gregory brought the hometown fans to their feet, leading off the inning with a scorching triple to left. Colby scored three pitches later when Tanner Rowles grounded out to third.
“I like what I saw from Colby today, too,” Coach Hart said of his versatile 15-year-old. “This is Colby's last year with us and I'm looking forward to watching him play at the next level.”
Justin Kline gave the Blue Demons a little bit of breathing room by working a bases-loaded walk in the fifth. That set the stage for two big innings which sealed ReMax's fate.
Alex Pagotto led off the top of the sixth with a blistering line drive triple to deep right field. Moments later, he trotted home when Thurber smoked a three-bagger of his own.
Lane was next in the hit parade, crushing an RBI double to left.
North Pocono broke the game wide open with six runs in the seventh.
Nick Pagotto ignited the rally with a two-run single through the left side of a drawn-in ReMax infield.
Lane followed with yet another key hit, this one a two-run single to left center.
Hanna then closed out the scoring by plating two more Blue Demons via a sizzling line drive triple to right.
Foytack earned the mound decision in this one. Owen worked five innings and threw 92 pitches before handing the ball off.
Gregory, Fredo, Rowles, Skies and Dallas Gombita each took a turn on the hill for ReMax.
Around the Horn
Heading into Thurday's action, the Honesdale Stars are all alone atop the league standings with a dazzling 11-1 overall record.
The Honesdale Eagles are in second place with a 10-2 mark, while Valley View is third at 6-4.
ReMax is the only other team at .500 or above with a 5-5 tally. The Renegades are followed by Forest City and the North Pocono Orange Crush at 5-6.
Rounding out the rankings are: Minooka (5-7), North Pocono Blue Demons (4-7), West Scranton A (3-8) and West Scranton B (1-9).
According to longtime Wayne County Teener League President Frank O'Neill, playoffs will get underway next week and there exist two possible scenarios.
If the two West Scranton teams participate, action will commence Monday with the seventh seeded team playing the tenth and the eighth and ninth seeds squaring off.
Should West Scranton opt out of the tournament, competition would begin Thursday, July 5 with two single elimination games.
Weather permitting, semifinal contests would then take place Saturday, setting the stage for a best-of-three finals series.
Game One would be Monday, July 9 at the field of the higher seeded team. Game Two would be on Wednesday. Should a third game be necessary, it would take place back at the higher seed's field on Friday, July 13.
First pitch for all Wayne County Teener League playoff games is scheduled for 6 p.m.