Spring finally arrived on the shores of The Big Lake this past weekend and local baseball fans came out in force to celebrate.
More than 100 spectators lined the diamond Saturday morning to bask in the sunshine and cheer Wallenpaupack Area in its first home game of the 2013 season.
The Buckhorns had opened the campaign with a 7-4 road win over Lakeland Tuesday and were looking to make it two straight.
Montrose had other ideas. The Meteors capitalized on two first inning errors to take a quick 3-0 lead. However, the Bucks battled back and eventually pulled even in the bottom of the seventh.
Since this was a non-league game with no bearing on Lackawanna League standings, umpires decided the teams would play one more inning. Neither the Bucks nor the Meteors could push across another run, so the game ended in a 3-3 stalemate.
"I really like the fact that we fought back," said veteran skipper Tod Schmalzle. "We booted the ball around a little bit early in the game, but the kids never quit. They continued to battle right up to the last out."
With this tie, Paupack's record now stands at 1-0-1 on the year. If Mother Nature continues to cooperate, the Bucks will open up their regular season slate this week.
Weather permitting, the local lads will travel to Covington Township on Thursday for a Division Two tussle with North Pocono. The Trojans captured both the league and district championship last spring.
First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
Back in Action
Alec Babyak drew the starting mound assignment against Montrose, but was the victim of sloppy first inning defense.
Montrose took advantage of two Paupack errors en route to a 3-0 lead. The Bucks struck back quickly, though, scoring once in the home half of the frame.
Page 2 of 2 - Third baseman Joey Budnovitch was hit to get things going. The fleet-footed lead-off man then promptly stole second and moved to third of a flyout.
Clean-up batter Cameron Wolfson put Paupack on the board with an RBI single, cutting the deficit to 3-1.
Babyak shook off his lack of defensive support and pitched brilliantly for the next frames. Alec allowed just one basehit and fanned three before yielding to the bullpen.
James Goetz came on in relief and was just as impressive. The crafty righthander worked four hitless frames and recorded three Ks of his own.
"Both of our kids threw very well today," Coach Schmalzle said. "Alec bounced back from a tough first inning and looked really good. Then James came on in relief and looked just as good. They both mixed their pitches well and kept batters off-balance."
Offensively, Paupack David Ortiz delivered a pair of clutch hits in the late innings.
The Buckhorn leftfielder singled and scored in the sixth, cutting the Meteors' lead to 3-2. Ortiz then ripped an RBI single up the middle in the bottom of the seventh which chased home Goetz with the tying run.
"I'm really expecting big things from David this year," Coach Schmalzle said. "He came up huge for us there in the seventh and I couldn't be happier with him to this point."
Mike Henry also turned in a stellar all-round performance. Paupack's hard-hitting catcher went 3-for-4 at the plate and also earned rave reviews for his defense.
"I'm very pleased with what I've seen from Mike so far this season. "He caught a very good game and swung the bat really well."
Score by Innings...
MON (1-0-1) 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 3
WAL (1-0-1) 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 - 3