Red & Black post epic win over Dunmore, then fall to Paupack

A big crowd of local fans gathered on the shores of The Big Lake Thursday to witness the latest chapter in an ages-old baseball rivalry.

Wallenpaupack Area and Honesdale have been battling on the high school diamond for decades and the series still has the power to transfix the community.

The story of this particular contest was the pitching of Paupack’s Izaiah Santiago. The junior lefty went the distance, handcuffing Hornet hitters en route to a complete game 6-1 victory.

“I can’t say enough about how well he threw today,” said Coach Todd Schmalzle of his ace. “Izaiah didn’t even have his best stuff, but he pitched smart and just kept battling.”

With this win, Paupack improved its overall record to 6-3 on the year. The Buckhorns trail only unbeaten North Pocono in the Division II standings.

Weather permitting, the Buckhorns will be back in action next week when they meet the Trojans for the first time this spring.

Starting time for this Lackawanna League contest is set for 4:30 p.m. at Covington Township.

On the Hill

Santiago drew the starting nod for Paupack and struggled a bit in the early going.

“Izaiah was up in the zone a little bit in the first couple of innings,” said Coach Schmalzle. “But, he kept his composure and seemed to get stronger as the game went on.”

The tall, lanky southpaw would go on to author a complete game gem. Izaiah worked seven innings, allowed only five hits. He struck out six and walked just one.

Paupack made the most of its opportunities plating a total of six runs on just four hits. The Buckhorns took advantage when Honesdale committed several mental mistakes, an error and two wild pitches.

“I think we played good sound fundamental baseball,” Coach Schmalzle said. “We didn’t have many hits, but we were aggressive on the bases and executed when we needed to.”

Kyle Nolan paced the offensive attack. The senior outfielder went 2-for-2 with a walk and two runs scored.

Hunter Vargo, Jake Liddy and Santiago each chipped in with basehit.

Jack Smith contributed a key at bat as well, driving in a run via a perfectly executed safety squeeze.

TJ Schmalzle sacrificed his body for the team, reaching base three times after being hit by pitches.

Paupack tallied twice in the home half of the second, then tacked on four more in the bottom of the fourth.

“We were ready to play today,” Coach Schmalzle said. “This is always a big rivalry game for us and the kids were just dialed right in. I could see it during infield and batting practice.”

Rough Day

Honesdale came into Thursday’s game fresh off an electrifying non-league win.

The Hornets went 11 innings on Wednesday, finally rallying to defeat Dunmore 4-2.

Anthony Dell’Aquila and Cade LaBracio played the hero’s role. Dell’Aquila went 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs. LaBracio also roped two hits and drove in a pair.

Danny Becker was the starter and worked seven solid frames. Paul Meagher pitched the final three frames and earned the win.

Defensively, Andy Carroll and Ben Williams each made a highlight-reel play in the outfield to stifle Dunmore rallies.

“This was an excellent win,” Coach Ernie Griffis said. “Just about everybody contributed something to get us there.”

Unfortunately for Honesdale fans, that momentum didn’t carry over. The Hornets came out flat and were never really in Thursday’s game against Paupack.

Jack Dennis toed the rubber for the Hornets and deserved a better fate. The senior right hander pitched four innings and allowed two earned runs.

Dennis struck out five, walked one and surrendered five hits. He handed the ball off to Jimmy Rodda, who notched two scoreless innings in relief.

Offensively, Honesdale tallied its lone run in the top of the fifth. Andy Carroll laced a single, moved up on a fielder’s choice then sprinted home via Cole Bannan’s RBI base knock.