The Greater Wyoming Area Senior Little League All-Star team captured the Section 5 championship on Saturday morning with a 12-1 win over North Pocono. The victory qualified GWA for the Pennsylvania State Tournament in Emporium, Cameron County.
Bart Chupka joked with Trent Grove about hitting a walk-off home run to end the game minutes before was hit by a pitch to load the bases and bring the big-hitting Greater Wyoming Area first baseman to the plate.
That joke quickly became reality when Chupka launched a walk-off grand slam high over the centerfield fence at Battaglia Field in Scranton to give GWA a 12-1, six-inning victory over North Pocono and the Section 5 Little League Senior All-Star title on Saturday morning. Greater Wyoming Area will now play in the Pennsylvania State Tournament on Thursday at the Cameron County Little League in Emporium. The round-robin event runs until August 1.
“We were just joking around about it,” Chupka said. “I can’t believe it actually happened. I was so excited I was worried I was going to miss a base on the way around.”
In addition to the walk off homer, Chupka also clubbed a mammoth three-run home run in the bottom of the first to put GWA on the board.
North Pocono tightened the lead to 3-1 in the top of the third. Matt Werner drew a walk and Justin Butler reached on an error giving North Pocono runners on first and second with nobody out in the inning. Kyle Haddock then cashed in Werner with an RBI single to right field. However, GWA starting pitcher Adam Romanowski went right back to shutting down the North Pocono hitters and didn’t allow them to score again.
Greater Wyoming Area answered with a run in the bottom half of the third.
With one out in the inning, Grove singled to right field, Chupka reached on an error. The error allowed Grove and Chupka to advance to second and third. Jake Granteed then grounded out to shortstop and Grove scored easily from third.
The offense was just getting warmed up.
With one out in the fifth inning, Grove roped an RBI-double to right field. Mike Carey scored all the way from first on the play. Chupka then grounded out to third, but Granteed brought in Grove with an RBI-triple to the right-center gap. He scored on an infield single off the bat of Eric Walkowiak and the GWA lead was 7-1 after five innings.
The offensive production didn’t stop in the fifth. With runners on second and third with one out, Freddy Cefalo roped an RBI-single to right field. Grove then was hit by the pitch and Chupka made North Pocono pay with the walk off grand slam.
Romanowski was terrific on the mound for GWA. He went the distance allowing no earned runs, while striking out four and walking just one North Pocono hitter.
“I felt really good on the mound today. Our defense made some great plays when we needed them,” Romanowski said. “It feels really good to have an offensive performance like that. Bart Chupka came up big today.”
Chupka finished with seven RBI to lead GWA. Grove added two hits and an RBI, and Nick O’Brien added a double. Jake Granteed chipped in with two RBI and a single.
“I am so proud of these kids,” GWA manager Dean Carey said moments after his team drenched him in Gatorade. “We lost in the title game the past two years, but this year we weren’t going to let it happen this year. You can’t ask for a better ending to a game than that.”
GWA 10, Weston Park 0
Greater Wyoming Area advanced to the Section 5 Little League Senior Baseball Finals with a 10-0, five-inning victory over Weston Park on Thursday night in Scranton.
Mike Carey pitched a four-hit shutout and Bart Chupka blasted a two-run home run to lead GWA.
Nick O’Brien added two hits for the winners, and Eric Walkowiak and Jordan Zezza each drove in two runs.
GWA 11, North Pocono 1
Adam Romanowski allowed just two hits while striking out eight as Greater Wyoming Area opened the Section 5 Little League Senior Baseball Tournament with an 11-1 win over District 17 champ North Pocono on Wednesday evening at Battaglia Field in West Scranton.
Jake Granteed added a three-run triple, and Nick O’Brien also tripled among his two hits for GWA.
Mike Carey collected an RBI single, and Matt Klimas added two singles for the District 31 champions.