Locally-based travel team dazzles in tournament debut

Even though Mother Nature has been less than cooperative this spring, local travel teams are still managing to get in some exciting action on the diamond.

Case in point, the Pro Prospects U14 softball squad. The Phantoms hit the road last weekend to compete at an invitational tournament in Matamoras and battled their way to a silver medal showing.

“We have a wonderful group of girls,” said Head Coach Steve Pinto. “This was the first time they'd all really played together as a team and we were very pleasantly surprised at the results. These girls work very hard and I'm really happy for them.”

The Phantoms 14U team is comprised mainly of players from Honesdale and Wallenpaupack Area. The girls posted an overall record of 3-2 at the event, which was played over the course of two days and is officially called the “Early Bird Open.”

Pro Prospects is based at the NEPA Sports Factory in downtown White Mills. The Phantoms will compete in the Upper Valley League this season, while also participating in a total of five travel tournaments.

“I'm looking forward to an exciting summer,” said Coach Pinto.

Weather permitting, the Phantoms will be back on the diamond this coming weekend at the Mountain Madness Invitational, held in Frackville.

On Their Way

The Phantoms opened up their championship quest Saturday against the Tri-State Angels, hosts of this particular event.

Pro Prospects surrendered four runs in the bottom of the first, but then held its own the rest of the way. Sadly, the game ended with a 7-4 loss. However, the Phantoms wasted no time in bouncing right back.

The local lasses took on the Hudson Valley Wildcats in Game Two of round robin action and powered their way to a 16-2 win. They followed that up with an 11-3 victory over Orange County to earn a berth in Sunday's medal round.

Honesdale's Makayla Cobourn was in the circle for the Phantoms' first win.

Offensively, Pro Prospects was paced by Lily Gomez of Eldred who went 4-for-5 with a homer, double and seven RBIs.

Amaya Yarrish and Lexi Pinto of Honesdale also dazzled at the dish. Yarrish banged out three hits, stole a pair of bases, tallied four runs and collected three RBIs. Pinto went 3-for-4 with four runs scored, three RBIs and two steals.

Paupack's Emily Sterner and Dakota Hubbard each chipped in with three hits.

Day Two

Sunday brought with it a chance for redemption as the Phantoms earned a re-match with Tri-State.

This time around, Pro Prospects went toe-to-toe with the event host. The score was tied 1-1 headed into the seventh when Cobourn delivered one of the tournament's biggest clutch hits.

Makayla ripped a two-out, two-run single to give the Phantoms a 3-1 lead. The Angels did rally for a run in the home half of the frame, but Pro Prospects held on for a 3-2 win.

Dana Donnelly of Eldred was the starter and winner, fashioning a four-hitter.

This victory propelled the local lasses into the gold medal game against Tri-County. Unfortunately, the Thunder dominated this particular tournament, going undefeated across both days and eventually winning the championship.

Despite a loss in the title tilt, Coach Pinto was thrilled with the way his team performed.

“I think it's safe to say they exceeded my expectations,” he said. “It was so much fun watching them come together. This is an exceptionally athletic bunch of kids and I can't wait to see what they do the rest of the season.”

In addition to this 14U squad, Steve Pinto and Tony Diaz also oversee a 12U softball squad and NEPA 9 baseball team.

In addition, Pro Prospects four developmental and travel teams. All are coached by Pro Prospects instructors and call the Sports Factory home.