WA’s Ryan Carey rounds third base on his way to scoring against North Pocono.photo by BILL TARUTIS
At top, WA shortstop Chris Murphy turns a double play against North Pocono as second baseman Randy McDermott looks on. Above, Wyoming Area’s PJ Bone dives safely back to first base. At right, WA pitcher Dylan Maloney fires a strike to the plate.photos by BILL TARUTIS
Behind a complete-game, five-strikeout performance by Cameron Damski, top-seeded Valley View ousted Wyoming Area, 6-2, in the quarterfinals of the District 2 Class 3A tournament at the Valley View Sports Complex on Friday afternoon.
And if Damski wasn’t good enough to begin with, the Warriors compounded their problems by committing four costly errors which played a huge role in the loss.
The Cougars built an early 2-0 lead in the second inning, scoring two unearned runs in a sign of things to come for the eighth-seeded Warriors.
More trouble loomed in the third as WA starter starter Ron Klepadlo walked Damski to start the inning. But after setting down the next two batters he faced, Klepadlo issued another walk to set up Matt Staback.
Staback drilled a fly ball into center which was mishandled, allowing two Cougars to score. Valley View tacked on two more runs in the inning, and Wyoming Area trailed 6-0.
The Warriors finally had an answer for starter Damski in the fourth.
After a leadoff groundout to start the inning, Dylan Maloney laced a single to right to give the Warriors their first hit of the game. Senior Kody Nowicki followed one batter later with an infield single but WA stranded the two runners when Damski fanned the final hitter of the inning.
It wasn’t until the fifth inning when the Warriors put a dent in the scoreboard compliments of Nick O’Brien.
After a leadoff single by Kyle Colarusso, the sophomore connected on the first home run of his career, a bomb over the left field fence to get Wyoming Area within 6-2.
With momentum switching slowly to the Green and Gold, Trent Grove ignited the Warrior hopeful again, connecting on a deep fly ball to center which looked to be heading over the fence, but was held in play by the wind. Ryan Carey followed with an infield single but the Warriors hopes were diminished when Damski induced a double-play.
Entering the sixth inning, Maloney connected on his second hit of the game - a double but Damski sat down the final three Warriors of the inning.
Using his curve ball effectively, Damski completed his performance by retiring the Warriors in the seventh to end Wyoming Area’s season one game short of last year’s district semifinal appearance.
Despite leaving eight men in scoring position through the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, Wyoming Area came through in the 10th when senior Chris Murphy delivered a walk-off single to propel the Warriors to a thrilling 5-4 victory over North Pocono in the first round of the District 2 Class 3A playoffs on Wednesday afternoon at the Atlas Sports Complex in West Pittston.
“I fouled off a few pitches off but I never gave up the at-bat. I was able to poke one through the field for my team,” Murphy said on his walk-off hit.
“After stranding several playing on base, I asked the guys, ‘Who wants to step up?’ Luckily Murphy answered that call,” added WA Head Coach Chic Andrewscavage.
Trailing 2-0 entering the home half of the third, the Warriors offense ignited for three runs all coming with two-outs.
Table setter Ryan Carey started the two-out rally, ripping a double to left. After a Murphy walk, junior Dylan Maloney drilled an RBI single to center plating Carey. Randy McDermott highlighted the inning with a two-run double to center scoring Murphy and Maloney to give WA a 3-2 advantage after three.
After Maloney silenced the Trojan bats in the fourth, he received another insurance run in the home half of the inning.
Senior PJ Bone led off with a triple to center and was later plated on a sacrifice fly by Trent Grove to increase the Warriors lead to 4-2.
On cruise control entering the fifth, Maloney looked sharp. But with one swing, North Pocono’s Bill Nelson launched the Trojans right back into the game with a solo home run over the left field fence, trimming the Warriors lead to 4-3..
North Pocono got even in the sixth on an RBI groundout by Tyler Cunningham tying the game at 4-4.
Both teams remained deadlocked well into extra innings as Maloney continued to pitch strong, striking out five of his game high nine batters after the seventh inning.
“He threw 120 pitches. We needed to stick with him and he felt fine. He’s been throwing a lot of innings for us. We felt good sticking with him,” Andrewscavage said.
Entering the 10th, the Warriors were able to close out their thrilling performance in style as Murphy lined an 0-2 fastball to right to score Grove who beat the throw home for the Warriors.
Wyoming Area went to Ron Klepadlo in the 10th as high school pitching rules allow for hurlers to toss no more than nine innings in one outing. Klepadlo worked around two walks and did not allow a hit in the 10th to earn the win on the mound for the Warriors.
Dispatch Staff Writer Rick Notari contributed to this report.