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Plains takes Junior Legion championship

Momentum on Plains’ side as team takes down Swoyersville for second straight time.

SWOYERSVILLE — Plains came into Monday’s elimination game as the underdog against previously unbeaten Swoyersville.

On Tuesday, the momentum was on their side.

Plains Township carried that momentum from Monday’s extra-innings elimination game into Tuesday night, capturing the Wyoming Valley Junior American Legion Championship with a 5-0 defeat of Swoyersville.

Plains got solid performances from their top two pitchers Anthony Grillini and James Castillino.

Grillini started and allowed one hit, but due to an inning limit Castillini finished off the game.

“They were our top guys all season, 1A and 1B,” Plains coach Don Stark said.

Plains wasted no time getting things going at the plate either.

Leadoff hitter Adam Dunsmuir started a first-inning rally with a single, followed by a single from Joe Parsnik. Two batters later, Josh Savakinus looped a single of his own, scoring both Dunsmuir and Parsnik. Ryan Haupt then drove the ball to center field bringing in Parsnik as Plains jumped out to a 3-0 lead.

Three runs proved to be enough for Plains’ pitching duo.

“I was confident in our defense and I knew we’d get some more runs,” Grillini said.

The top of the seventh inning proved to be trickier than Plains had hoped for as Castillini walked the bases loaded with two outs. He sealed the victory, though, by getting the final batter to pop out.

Castillini deferred credit for getting out of the jam.

“I always believe in Coach Butch, our pitching coach, to call the right pitches,” Castillini said.

Plains stretched their lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the third when Haupt and Castillino each drew walks bringing the runs. Josh Savakinus scored the first run in the third to cap off a solid 3-for-3 performance.

An inexperienced Plains squad lost the first game of the Wyoming Valley Junior American Legion Playoffs but got hot at the right time and won four straight games through the loser’s bracket on their way to capturing the championship.

“We only returned five kids from last years regular season championship team,” Stark said. “I knew we didn’t have a lack of talent, just a lack of maturity, but these kids motivate themselves.”

Plains will advance to Spring City to play in the regional round of the Junior American Legion Tournament.

Swoyersville batters Tyler Potoski and Josh Usefara eached singled on the day. Swoyersville, according to Junior American Legion Chairman Gene Mullay, will advance to play in the Lawn City Regional as a result of Lebanon Valley dropping out of the tournament.

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