Post 311 held off a late charge in sealing the deal on a 2-1 victory over Montrose.
To the untrained eye, it would appear that Buckhorn baseball was still going on.
Yes, the jerseys are the same color; the names on the roster are pretty much the same too, and even this year the coach is the same.
The only real difference now is that we’re talking about the kids from American Legion Post 311, and not Wallenpaupack High School.
Back in Style
Facing Montrose, Hawley sent Pavel Sprague to the mound Tuesday afternoon and took down the first three batters in order thanks to sharp fielding.
Offensively, the Toros first two batters fell as well.
However, in his return to the shores of the Big Lake, for Legion Ball at least, Paupack alum James Goetz made it to first by taking one for the team. He then stole second as payback for getting hit.
Dave Ortiz followed with a walk and Dave Eckert drove in Goetz with a single and the Toros were up, 1-0.
A groundout and two Ks by Sprague sent Montrose down in order in the second and Brian Gibbons was Hawley’s lone baserunner in the bottom of the inning after he was hit by a pitch.
Montrose went down 1-2-3 in the third as well with Sprague chalking up another strikeout.
Chris Brindle and Goetz each got a base hit with no outs in the bottom half. Eckert hit into a fielder’s choice forcing out Goetz before the inning ended with Brindle stuck on third.
Toros’ fielding sent down the lead off batters in the fourth before Sprague gave up a walk, but recovered quickly with his fourth K of the day, retiring the side.
Well, at least Hawley made it through one inning without a batter getting hit, but that ended in the bottom of the fourth when Mitch Guerrieri was grazed and took the free trip to first.
He was tagged out when Sam Vargas batted into a fielder’s choice. Vargas was then forced out in a double play, thus sending Hawley down 1-2-3 to end the fourth.
Moving Right Along
Sprague dealt another strikeout to start the fifth and the Toros’ infield took down the next two batters.
Wade Gilpin managed a lone single to lead off for Hawley against a new pitcher, who then promptly threw out the next three batters.
In the top of the sixth, Sprauge pegged the lead-off batter, sending him to first, but Vargas snatched the fly ball hit toward him for one out and made the throw to Brindle for in time for the double play.
Sprague then sent the last batter down swinging to retire the side, but Hawley went quietly in the home half of the sixth.
Things went sideways in the top of the seventh.
Montrose got the better of Sprague and put up two singles and tallied a run to tie the game. That brought in Dave Ortiz.
His first batter drove in an RBI and in an attempt to extend, was tagged out at the plate in a spectacular play by Wade Gilpin.
On the way home, he passed up the other lone Montrose runner thus making him automatically out anyway.
The legal baseruner was left abandoned on third as Ortiz cut down the last two batters with a K each.
Finally, Vargas walked when the Toros came up in the bottom of the seventh then advanced to third on two passed balls.
Chase Petrosky walked as well and Wade Gilpin was walked intentionally with no outs with the hope of forcing Hawley into a double play.
Montrose settled for a strikeout for one, but Goetz came to the plate and took four balls straight to him to first and Vargas home, thus ending the game 2-1 for Post 311.
Neither the players nor the coaches approach Legion ball differently than they do high school ball.
Mitch Guerrieri likes the fact that older players come back to help younger players, as does Skipper Todd Schmalzle and Asst. Coach Steve Guerrieri.
“Winning games and developing players is the goal,” Schmalzle stated. "It doesn’t matter if it’s high school or Legion Ball. We're here to play well and have fun.”
Score by Innings...
MON (1-1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 1
HAW (1-0) 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 - 2