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Patriots take Ashby game on the big stage

Top, Wyoming Area shortstop Randy McDermott, left, tags out Pittston Area’s Jordan Bone. Left, Old Forge shortstop Connor Fultz makes a play to first during the Blue Devils victory over arch-rival Riverside. Above, Old Forge third baseman Dave Argust makes a play in the first inning of the Blue Devils 8-2 win over Riverside. Below, Andy Ashby and Ashby MVP winner Ron Musto, center, are surrounded by the Pittston Area players after the Patriots’ 7-2 win over rival Wyoming Area on Monday at PNC Field.

Old Forge Photos by Rick Notari. PA, WA by Bill Tarutis.

Top, Wyoming Area shortstop Randy McDermott, left, tags out Pittston Area’s Jordan Bone. Left, Old Forge shortstop Connor Fultz makes a play to first during the Blue Devils victory over arch-rival Riverside. Above, Old Forge third baseman Dave Argust makes a play in the first inning of the Blue Devils 8-2 win over Riverside. Below, Andy Ashby and Ashby MVP winner Ron Musto, center, are surrounded by the Pittston Area players after the Patriots’ 7-2 win over rival Wyoming Area on Monday at PNC Field.

Old Forge Photos by Rick Notari. PA, WA by Bill Tarutis.

Top, Wyoming Area shortstop Randy McDermott, left, tags out Pittston Area’s Jordan Bone. Left, Old Forge shortstop Connor Fultz makes a play to first during the Blue Devils victory over arch-rival Riverside. Above, Old Forge third baseman Dave Argust makes a play in the first inning of the Blue Devils 8-2 win over Riverside. Below, Andy Ashby and Ashby MVP winner Ron Musto, center, are surrounded by the Pittston Area players after the Patriots’ 7-2 win over rival Wyoming Area on Monday at PNC Field.

Old Forge Photos by Rick Notari. PA, WA by Bill Tarutis.

Top, Wyoming Area shortstop Randy McDermott, left, tags out Pittston Area’s Jordan Bone. Left, Old Forge shortstop Connor Fultz makes a play to first during the Blue Devils victory over arch-rival Riverside. Above, Old Forge third baseman Dave Argust makes a play in the first inning of the Blue Devils 8-2 win over Riverside. Below, Andy Ashby and Ashby MVP winner Ron Musto, center, are surrounded by the Pittston Area players after the Patriots’ 7-2 win over rival Wyoming Area on Monday at PNC Field.

Old Forge Photos by Rick Notari. PA, WA by Bill Tarutis.

Top, PA shortstop Josh Savokinas throws to first during the Ashby Game Monday at PNC Field. Above, Old Forge’s Mario Martinelli smacks one of his three hits on the afternoon as the Blue Devils beat Riverside, 8-2, on Monday at Pagnotti Park.

Top, PA shortstop Josh Savokinas throws to first during the Ashby Game Monday at PNC Field. Above, Old Forge’s Mario Martinelli smacks one of his three hits on the afternoon as the Blue Devils beat Riverside, 8-2, on Monday at Pagnotti Park.

Pittston Area teammates surround Ron Musto after he was selected the Andy Ashby MVP of the Pittston Area-Wyoming Area baseball game at PNC Field on Monday.

Photos by Bill Tautis

One pitch was all PA senior Ron Musto needed. With the bases loaded and the score tied 2-2, Musto blasted a bases clearing double ultimately putting the game out of reach and lifting the Patriots a 7-2 come-from-behind win Monday afternoon at PNC Field in Moosic in the 14th Annual Ashby Game.

For his efforts, Musto was awarded the MVP trophy from former two-time National League All Star Andy Ashby.

PA head coach Paul Zaffuto said his catcher was deserving. “Ronnie hit two balls early on and he made another quick adjustment and drilled the double right on the nose.”

Musto was stunned by the magnitude of the hit. “I don’t think it sunk in yet,” he said after getting the MVP. “I knew I was going to get a fastball, I just put a big swing into it. This is like the World Series to us. And being awarded this, there is no greater honor.”

Ashby said the thrill is not gone after 14 seasons. “I’m very privileged to be able to give something back to the kids. We talked to both schools and my wife and I decided to have a MVP trophy in my honor. Its fun to come back and see these kids play,” said Ashby.

Ironically, it was another Ron Musto, the former Wyoming Area coach, who came up with the idea 15 years ago for an MVP trophy game between Wyoming Area and Pittston Area

Early on, starters Jim Castellino and Dylan Maloney had their stuff working. Both baffled opposing hitters. Maloney mustered only two hits while fanning four in the first four innings. Castellino was pulled in the third after running into some trouble. After Castellino walked PJ Bone and Dylan Maloney to start the third, Randy McDermott launched a sacrifice fly to center moving Bone to third. The Patriots then made a move, bringing in Jordan Bone to face Kody Nowicki. With a 2-2 count, Nowicki knocked in the Warriors first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to center chasing home PJ Bone from third as the Warriors took 1-0 lead.

After Maloney set down the Patriots in the home half of the fourth Ryan Carey helped Maloney out by drilling an RBI single off the 330 marker and the wall in left chasing home Trent Grove from second giving the Warriors a 2-0 lead.

With momentum trickling away, the Patriots were looking for a spark against Maloney. In the fifth they found it. Evan Hahn and Matt Antal reached with one out and senior Jordan Bone lined an RBI single to center scoring Hahn. After a strikeout, Josh Savakinas lined an RBI single to third scoring Antal to tie it 2-2. RJ Emmett reached on a HBP setting up Musto for his bases clearing double to center. Pinch runner Tyler Loftus was later chased home on a RBI single by freshman Josh Razvilla capping the Patriots six-run fifth.

From there, the Patriots tacked on another in the sixth on an RBI single to left by Anthony Schwab.

Reliever Kyle Callahan retired the last six out of seven batters he faced securing the win for the Patriots.

“Our bats were quick the first couple of innings and the credit goes right to Maloney on the mound. He was keeping us off-balanced. We tried to take pitches and get him out of the game early but he pitched solid,” Coach Paul Zaffuto said on Maloney efforts.

“Andy Ashby does a great job with this event every year. These kids get an atmosphere of a big time playoff game when its not. It’s just a lot of fun for both schools.”

Jordan Bone got the win in relief. Maloney took the loss surrendering six runs while fanning five.

For the Patriots, Musto finished 2 for 3 with three runs. Matt Antal tallied a hit and scored two runs.

Blue Devils steal victory from Vikes

Old Forge stole nine bases - including a straight steal of home - in an 8-2 victory over arch-rival Riverside in an important Lackawanna League Division II game on Monday afternoon at Pagnotti Park. The win puts the Blue Devils into a second-place tie with the Vikings, a half-game behind division leader Valley View.

Old Forge (5-2) gave winning-pitcher Tony Goodall an early lead, scoring a run with two outs in the first inning on an RBI-single to left field by Dave Argust. Argust’s line drive scored Connor Fultz who walked and moved to second when Dom Avvisato was hit by a Mike Osterstrom pitch. It was a sign of things to come as The Blue Devils would score seven of their eight runs with two outs.

Goodall cruised through the first four innings, allowing just two singles as the Blue Devils added single runs in each of the first four innings for a 4-0 lead. Old Forge’s speed contributed to each run in the second, third and fourth innings as five different players stole bases. Mario Martinelli highlighted the Blue Devils dominance on the base paths as the senior singled with two outs in the fourth, stole second, and scored on an infield single by Michael Long as the speedy second baseman never hesitated as he rounded third before scooting home.

Riverside got on the board in the bottom of the fifth as they put three two-out hits together, including RBI knocks from BJ Boccicchio and Jason Goetsch to get within 4-2. The Blue Devils tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the sixth off of reliever Skylar Lavage, including a highlight reel steal of home by Martinelli. Martinelli started the inning with a bunt single, and moved to third on a bunt single by Long. Long stole second but was then doubled off on a line drive by Fultz. With Lavage now in the windup, Martinelli took off for home, sliding in head first ahead of the tag for a 5-2 lead.

The Blue Devils weren’t done. Avvisato followed with a single to left, and Argust stroked his second single of the game to give Old Forge runners at first-and-second. Russ McGlynn dumped a pitch into left for an RBI-single, and Gary Puckett followed with a two-run single into deep right centerfield to put the Blue Devils ahead, 8-2.

Martinelli finished with three hits and three stolen bases for Old Forge, and Long, Argust, and Puckett each added two hits.

OF 5, Dunmore 4

Old Forge remained one game out of first place with a 5-4, eight-inning victory over Dunmore on Thursday afternoon at Pagnotti Park. Dave Argust took one for the team to drive in the winning run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score Mario Martinelli. Martinelli and Michael Long each had two hits for the Blue Devils while Derek Drasba picked up the win in relief by striking out five in five innings.

Holy Redeemer 14, WA 7

The Royals scored four in the first, four in the second and five in fourth to lead 13-0 in route to a 14-7 win on Tuesday in West Pittston. The Royals scored with an economy of hits, getting nine, including three home runs, one a pinch hit grand slam by Eric Ringsdorf.

Steve Ruch (2-3, double, five RBI) and Christian Choman (four RBI) also homered for Redeemer (5-2).

Ryan Carey went 2-for-4 with a triple and four RBI to lead the Warriors (1-6) who had 12 hits.

Ritsick went 5.1 and was the winner. He’s 3-0.

WA used four pitchers, Murphy, who took the loss, and Klus, Colarusso and Granteed.

Tunkhannock 4, PA 3

Josh McClain hit a two-out single in the bottom of the seventh to score Mike Papi and give Tunkhannock a 4-3 victory over Pittston Area in a battle of divisional leaders in Wyoming Valley Conference baseball Wednesday.

Mike Healey pitched a complete game for the Tigers, scattering seven hits and striking out eight.

Tunkhannock (Division I West) improved to 7-1. Pittston Area (Division I East) fell to 5-2.

PA scored one in the first and two in the third. Brian Delaney doubled, scored a run and had an RBI for Pittston Area. Musto had an RBI. Bone and Bressler pitched for PA, with Bressler being charged with the loss.

WA 5, Hazleton Area 4

Kyle Colarusso hit a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth for the winning run as the Warriors picked up their second win on Thursday in West Pittston.

Colarusso was 3-for-3. P.J. Bone also homered for the Warriors (2-6). Ron Klepadlo picked up the win in relief, getting the last out in the sixth and pitching a scoreless seventh. Starter Romanoski went 5 /23 giving up three hits and striking out six.

WA 8, Nanticoke 7

Kody Nowicki hit a solo home run and finished 2-for-3 as the Warriors posted their second straight win on Friday in Nanticoke. The Warriors used three pitchers, Walkwiak, Murphy, and Maloney, who struck out five in the final three innings and got the final out with the tying run on base. Murphy got the win.

Carey, P.J. Bone (double) and Kyle Colarusso (double) also had two hits apiece for Wyoming Area (3-6).

Rick Notari contributed to this report

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