The rain held off and sunny skies prevailed Saturday afternoon for an electrifying District 32 Little League All-Star game.
More than 100 diamond fans gathered at Carlton-Drake Memorial Park in Newfoundland for this 12U contest, which featured Wallenpaupack Area and North Scranton.
This was a winner-take-all proposition for both sides, since each team had already suffered a loss in double elimination action.
Paupack was looking to bounce back from a rare loss in tournament pool play, while North Scranton was battling to extend its season one more game.
"Things didn't go all that well for us the other night, so I was really hoping the kids would bounce back," Coach Chris Strong told The News Eagle.
"We had a rain delay and had to come back to finish it the next day. The bottom line, though, was that we just didn't play well and I hope we learned from that."
Much to the chagrin of North Scranton coaches, players and fans, it appears that Paupack did indeed learn from the experience.
The young Bucks came out swinging in this one, scoring three first inning runs and never looking back en route to a 10-7 victory.
With this win, Paupack moved to within one game of another berth in the D-32 medal round.
Weather permitting, the local lads were slated for a road trip to Lakeland on Tuesday night.
A win there would propel Paupack onward toward a possible spot in the state tournament.
Stay tuned to The News Eagle for continuing coverage of District 32 Little League action.
Paupack wasted no time in attacking North Scranton starter Steven Paszak.
Page 2 of 3 - Jake Strong led off the game with a sharp single and then went first-to-third when Alex Pillar slapped a single of his own.
Moments later, Paupack had a 2-0 lead thanks to Nate Trout's two-bagger.
Tristan Schroeder ripped a basehit as well, but Trout was cut down at the plate.
Coach Strong's team did push its advantage to 3-0, though, when Schroeder tallied on an error.
"North Scranton is a good team, so it's important that we got off to a quick start," he said. "It was nice to see the kids bounce back after kind of a down game."
Derrick Vosburg drew the starting mound assignment and allowed just one run in his first three frames.
A crafty southpaw, Vosburg would work four innings and earn the win.
"Derrick is a sly lefty," Coach Strong said. "He doesn't overpower you with his fastball; but, he mixes pitches well and he can lull you right to sleep."
Vosburg also contributed in a huge way offensively.
After flying out in the top of the first, Derrick smoked a pair of key hits in his next two at-bats. He doubled off the wall to open the third, then hammered a towering 3-run homer in the fourth.
North Scranton staged a rally in the home half of the fourth.
Eddie Keen terrorized Paupack pitchers all game long. The slugging clean-up man enjoyed a perfect 4-for-4 day at the dish.
Keen roped an RBI double in the first and laced another two-bagger in the third. Eddie blasted a 3-run homer in the fourth, then closed out his game with a single in the sixth.
Page 3 of 3 - "That kid is definitely a player," Coach Strong said. "Eddie Keen really rips the ball every time up."
North Scranton closed the scoring gap to 8-5 in the fifth, but Paupack struck back once more in the top of the sixth.
Pillar worked a one-out walk, which brought Trout to the plate with a chance to give his team a little bit of breathing room.
Nate ignored the first two pitches he saw, the clubbed the third deep over the fence in right center. Trout's big fly extended Paupack's advantage to 10-5.
Trout came on to pitch the final two frames and earn a save. Nate allowed two earned runs, but piled up six strikeouts.
Over & Out
Offensively, Strong also came through with one big hit after another.
Jake went 3-for-4 on the afternoon. Paupack's tough-as-nails catcher singled and scored in the first. He added two more base knocks in he second and fourth
"My son's been hitting the cover off the ball," said Coach Strong. "He's our table setter. Jake's job is to get on base and make things happen and he's definitely been doing that so far."
Paupack staved off one last North Scranton rally, working around a pair of infield errors in the sixth for a 10-7 victory.
"We're fortunate to get out of here with a win today," said Coach Strong.
"We live to play another day and that's the most important thing."
Score by Innings...
WA (3-1) 3 0 2 3 0 2 - 10
NS (2-2) 1 0 0 3 1 2 - 7