The Factory Field hosts its inaugural regular season Wayne Highlands Little League game
Baseball has played an integral role in the annals of Wayne County sports for more than 150 years.
Many municipalities sponsored diamond teams in the late 19th century right up through the 1970s.
Sadly, while the heyday of town team hardball has passed, youth organizations continued to proliferate.
This week, an exciting new chapter was written when the NEPA Sports Factory hosted its inaugural Wayne Highlands Little League baseball game at the newly-renovated field in White Mills.
The Elevation Design & Consulting Bears and PS Bank Wolfpack had the honor of squaring off in the very first game.
When the dust cleared, the Bears had claimed a hard-fought 5-2 win.
“It's so great to see this all coming together,” said Steve Pinto, founder of the NEPA Sports Factory.
“It's been almost five and a half years of hard work, but to stand here and see the kids actually playing a game on this field … it's pretty amazing.”
Pinto couldn't stop smiling as he watched the two teams take the field.
“I'm very grateful to the Honesdale Jaycees, the Wayne Highlands Little League, the Wallenpaupack Area Little League, Gary Linde and the Leeward Construction team,” Steve said. “Also, Mike Patire of Greco Landscaping, the crew at Pro Prospects Training Center and so many others for helping with this project.
“It's so great to see this old field come back to life for a new generation of ball players.”
A large, enthusiastic crowd gathered at the Factory Field Wednesday to witness this little bit of local sports history.
Game One of the first Wayne Highlands Little League season in White Mills pitted the PS Bank Wolfpack against the Elevation Design & Consulting Bears.
This Major Division contest got underway at approximately 6:20 p.m. on a picture perfect spring day at a bend in the Lackawaxen River.
Jared Ahern drew the starting mound assignment for the Bears. The first batter he faced was the Wolfpack’s Owen Pender.
A hard-throwing southpaw, Ahern retired the side without incident in the top of the first.
Jared would go on to author a pitching masterpiece. He went the distance, working six innings and allowing just two hits. Ahern piled up an eye-popping total of 14 Ks only one earned run.
Offensively, Jared helped his own cause with an RBI double, a walk and two runs scored. He was aided and abetted by Mason Smith, who roped a pair of singles.
Joel Flynn, Nick Martin and Trevor Dressler each tallied once.
Pender was the starter for the Wolfpack and eventually absorbed the loss. Owen pitched into the fifth before handing the ball off to reliever Rylan Montgomery.
Matt Carroll ignited the Wolfpack’s lone uprising in the fourth inning. Carroll smoked a double, then stole third and scored on a wild pitch. Pender also delivered a key hit in the frame, ripping a triple and scoring two batters later.
Defensively, the Wolfpack’s Reece Dennis wowed the crowd with a pair of Gold Glove catches in centerfield.
With this solid win, the Bears improved their regular season record to a perfect 4-0. Coach Brendan Flynn’s squad is alone atop the Majors Division standings. The Bears are back on the diamond Monday against the Hawks at White Mills.
With the loss, Coach Mick Dennis’ team fell to 2-2 on the year. The Wolfpack returns to action Wednesday at Damascus against the Bears.
If Mother Nature finally deigns to cooperate, there will be plenty of Wayne Highlands Little League action in the coming weeks.
In addition to the Factory Field, games are also being played at Walter Markowski Memorial Field in Damascus, Carlton Drake Memorial Park in Newfoundland and RD Wilson in Waymart.
In addition to the games mentioned above, the Generals and Bandits play Monday in Damascus.
On Tuesday, the Chiefs and Scouts square off at Factory Field, while the Bandits and Bobcats meet at Markowski Field.
Wednesday’s slate features a game between the Red Sox and Rivermen battle in Newfoundland, while the Bears and Wolfpack have a re-match at Damascus.