Post 311 opened this best-of-three semifinal series with a dominating 5-0 win. Game Two was a different story, though, as the Toros had to stage a 7th inning rally to finally eliminate the scrappy Rangers 6-5.
Only one opponent now stands between Hawley and an American Legion baseball championship.
The Toros swept their best-of-three series with the Hamlin Rangers, winning Game One by a score of 5-0 and taking Game Two 6-5.
With these victories, Post 311 now advances to the District 15 finals. There, Coach Chad Goetz’s squad will square off with Milford in one more best-of-three set.
“We’re playing pretty well right now,” he told the News Eagle. “If we stay focused and do what we’re supposed to do, I think we’ll be okay.”
Hawley and Milford have already met three times this season with the Toros taking two of those three contests.
“We know they’re a good team and it’s probably going to be a tough series,” Coach Goetz said. “We have the ability to win and I’d love to see us get to regionals. It’s been quite awhile since Hawley has gotten there and I think we could make some noise this year.”
Game One of the District 15 championship series was slated for Tuesday evening at Wallenpaupack Area. Weather permitting, Game Two will be played at Delaware Valley.
Should the two teams split, the series would return to Paupack for the rubber match. That contest is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
Erik Pulkkinen paced Hawley to an impressive victory in Game One of the semifinals.
The Toros pitching ace authored a complete game masteriece, working seven innings and allowing just one basehit.
“I really didn’t have my best stuff today, Erik said. My fastball was pretty decent, but I struggled with my breaking stuff. I just had to work my way through it.”
The fireballing righty amassed 12 strikeouts along the way and surrendered just a single to Hamlin catcher Lucas Karnick. Erik threw 104 pitches, issued four free passes and hit two batters.
Hawley scored three runs in the third, then added a pair of insurance tallies in the bottom of the fourth.
Cameron Wolfson led the way, driving in two runs with an RBI single and sacrifice fly.
Pulkkinen aided his own cause with one key basehit, two runs and an RBI. James Goetz worked a pair of free passes and tallied twice, while David Ortiz added an RBI.
Kenny Ciszak also helped to ignite the offense, ripping a single and stealing a base.
The Rangers showed their mettle in Game Two, taking a one-run lead into the top of the seventh before finally folding.
Pulkkinen, Duff and Wolfson paced the Post 311 offensive attack in this one.
Erik went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI, but Chris terrorized Hamlin hurlers all evening long. Duff ripped a single and a triple, scored two runs and drove in two more. He also stole two bases.Cameron banged out two hits in four trips.
Marcus Bond and Mike Henry played heroes in the Toros’ crucial seventh inning comeback.
Kenny Ciszak and Ortiz opened the frame with back to back walks. Bond then stepped up and drilled an RBI?single to right, which tied the game at 5-5. Moments later, Henry dug in and launched a sacrifice fly to center, plating Ortiz with the game-winning run.
Dan Skibber drew the starting nod and lasted into the fifth before Coach Goetz went to the bullpen. James Goetz worked one solid inning of relief and David Ortiz came on to earn the win.
Score by Innings...
HAW (14-2) 1 0 0 3 0 0 2 - 6
HAM (7-10) 2 0 0 0 1 2 0 - 5