Honesdale is undefeated to date in Wayne County Teener League action

Even though Mother Nature has been less than cooperative this spring, Wayne County Teener League teams have still managed to get in a good number of games all across the region.

According to league spokesman Frank O'Neill, there are a total of eight teams in the circuit this season: Honesdale (2), Paupack, Forest City, North Pocono, Valley View, Mtn. View, Beach Lake.

“The weather as obviously been our biggest issue,” Frank said.

“The Stars seem to be the front runner so far, but there are a couple of other teams out there looking good, too. It's nice to have Paupack back in the league after an eight-year hiatus.”

With three weeks of on and off action now in the books, the Stars are all alone atop the standings with a perfect 8-0 record.

Mountain View is in second place at 9-2, while North Pocono sits in third with a 4-2 mark.

Rounding out the rest of the rankings are: Re-Max (4-3), Paupack (3-5), Valley View (2-7), Forest City (1-6) Eagles (0-8).

Weather permitting, there will be a full slate of games on the agenda this weekend.

•Stars at Renegades, 6 p.m. Saturday, Beach Lake.

•North Pocono at Forest City, 6 p.m. Saturday, Forest City High School.

•Valley View at Eagles, 6 p.m. Saturday, Honesdale High School Field.

•North Pocono at Stars, 3 p.m. Sunday, Honesdale High School Field.

Alone in First

Honesdale opened up its season with an impressive 9-2 victory at Paupack.

The Stars followed that up with an 8-4 win over Forest City and a twinbill sweep of Valley View.

Coach Lee Donat's squad elevated its offensive output to entirely new heights this past week, outscoring the opposition 25-1 in wins over Mountain View and Forest City.

“This is a great group of boys,” said Coach Donat. “They work hard, but we have a lot of fun too.

“We're a well-balanced team, but I think offense is our strong point. We hit all up and down the line-up from one through ten.”

Honesdale is coming off an historic season. The Stars went 17-1 overall last year en route to both the regular season and playoff tourney championship.

“We lost some key kids to graduation last year, but obviously some of that leadership rubbed off on the younger kids because this group has really stepped up,” Coach Donat said.

Mark Christina, Zach Branning, Aiden Hyams and Mason Briggs are all providing leadership.

Christina is a 15-year-old who hails from Western Wayne. Mark pitches and plays a Gold Glove quality centerfield while hitting in the number two spot.

“Mark is one of the fastest kids in the league,” Coach Donat said. “He knows the strike zone and understands his role. Mark gets on-base and really makes things happen.”

Branning is the ace of Honesdale's rotation. A battle-tested 15-year-old righty, Zach played a key role down the stretch in last year's championship run.

“He's just a stud,” Coach Donat said. “Zach doesn't really overpower anybody, but he hits his spots. He changes speed and keeps batters off-balance. At the plate, he's that line-drive hitter you definitely want up there in key situations.”

Hyams is just 14, but he's already established himself as one of the league's top table-setters. Ayden hails from Ding-Del an bats lead-off for the Stars. He also plays a stellar leftfield.

“Ayden is an excellent all-round ballplayer,” said Coach Donat. “He's very fast. He knows the strike zone and does whatever it takes to get on base.”

Briggs is another talented 14-year-old who came up through the Honesdale system. Mason pitches, but shows his versatility by also playing third and outfield.

“One my favorite things about Mason is that he has a great attitude,” said Coach Donat. “He keeps everyone loose no matter what the situation is. Mason bats third and gives us some nice pop in the middle of the order.”

Signature Win

When asked to pick his team's biggest win of the season to date, Coach Donat didn't hesitate.

“Mountain View,” he said with a smile. “I was really worried about that one. They had a 7-1 record when we went up there and we were short-handed … only six starters could make it that day. Ten kids total.”

As it turned out, he needn't have worried. The Stars raced out to a big early lead then cruised to an 11-1 Mercy Rule win.

Branning earned the starting nod and went five strong innings. He was relieved by Christina, who closed things out with a stellar frame of his own.

Dustin Ferraro paced the Honesdale offensive attack, banging out a game-high four hits. Christina worked a total of four walks and tallied three runs.

Nate Hugaboom enjoyed a banner day at the dish as well, ripping three hits and collecting three RBIs.

Branning helped his own cause, reaching base four times and driving in three.

The Stars' latest win was just as impressive. This one came at the expense of Forest City and ended in a 14-0 whitewashing.

Branning and Christina once again shared mound duty. Zach started and worked four shutout frames before handing the ball off to Mark to close things out.

“The best thing about this year's team is that everyone plays a part,” Coach Donat said. “These kids will do whatever you ask them to if it helps the team win.”