Wallenpaupack Area's varsity baseball team begins title defense

Here and there, Wallenpaupack Area's varsity baseball team has managed to squeeze in a few games.

Snow blanketed the field near the Big Lake until just recently and the Bucks were forced to scratch or reschedule a number of bouts.

Better conditions in the Wyoming Valley allowed the club to get in a few road games, and then, in an ironic twist, an away game at Western Wayne was moved to Paupack because the field at Varden was inhospitable.

The lack of field time showed in the Purple & White’s first two ventures, but fortune turned their way and a pair of solid wins helped move the Buckhorns to 2-2 as they entered this week.

Early Woes

Journeys to Wyoming Valley West on March 24 and Wyoming Area two days later did not go well for Wallenpaupack. Against the Spartans, they suffered a 10-4 loss and then were setback by the Warriors, 9-4.

The Bucks bullpen saw some action against Valley West. Junior Derrick Vosburg issued pitches for one inning giving up a pair of hits, four runs, three errors, four walks and striking out one.

That brought in senior Adam Sands.

The lefty went 2.2 innings but allowed five hits, five runs, an error, and two walks, but did post five Ks.

He yielded to senior Tyler Kirsten for 1.1 innings, striking out one but letting a hit and a run get past. Finally, senior Ty Holbert closed, allowing a pair of walks.

Although they struggled on the mound, the pitchers accounted for much of the action at the plate. Kirsten and Sands each landed doubles while Sands and Vosburg batted in runs. Scoring for Paupack were sophomore Izaiah Santiago, senior Max Alessi, Sands, and junior Jake Liddy.

Their game against Wyoming Area didn’t go much better.

Santiago took to the hill and completed two innings, giving up a quartet of hits, half-a-dozen runs, and a trio of walks while sending two down on strikes. Kirsten came in for just over three innings, struck out three but allowed three hits, three runs, three errors, and two walks.

Junior Anthony Church stepped in to shut things down, pitching less than an inning, and put down one batter while allowing a lone hit.

Offensively, Vosburg led the way with a double and batted two in. Alessi also logged two RBIs. Kirsten stole two bases, as did Santiago, while senior Zach Maldacker, swiped one.

Santiago tallied two runs for Paupack while Kirsten and Vosburg each plated one.

Better Luck

The Buckhorns March 29 jaunt to Pittston Area gave them a 9-4 win. Sands struck out three while giving up five hits, a run, and an error over four innings. The southpaw assault continued with Vosburg taking the last three shifts, striking out five while giving up a run, a hit, and a walk to get the save.

Kirsten doubled while Alessi and Holbert each drove in two. Also batting in runs were Maldacker and Vosburg. Maldacker stole one base while Santiago scored twice, Vosburg, Hunter Vargo, and Holbert each counted one, and Kirsten racked up four trips home.

It wasn’t supposed to be their home opener, but last Saturday’s duel with Western Wayne turned out to be just that.

A good number of Buckhorn faithful turned out for the affair.

Vosburg crafted a fine show for five innings, giving up just two hits, one run, and an error while striking out five.

Steady offense by the Bucks gave them a 9-1 lead heading into the sixth when Kirsten took over and saw one inning, counting one K and letting one hit slip by.

The ‘Cats lone run came via senior James Sommers.

They sent six different pitchers to the mound but to no avail, could not concoct a formula to thwart the Bucks offensive onslaught.

Although extra bases eluded Paupack, Alessi, Holbert, Liddy, Maldacker, Vosburg, juniors Tom McCormick and Kyle Nolan all batted in runners.

Vosburg plated a trio of runs, Vargo, Holbert, and Nolan each counted two, and Maldacker and Santiago each scored once.

Theft was on the agenda as well. Vosburg swiped two bases, while Holbert, McCormick, Nolan, Santiago, and Vargo stole one each.

“Things are going pretty well now,” said Buckhorn skipper Todd Schmalzle. “Pitching struggled in our first two outings. We gave up some early inning runs in both games but have improved.

“This second strong showing on the mound has been very positive.”

“We’ve done a good job at hitting. Coming into the Western Wayne game Tyler Kirsten was killing the ball at .700, Zach Maldacker was at .500, and Derrick Vosburg had been hitting well, too.”

Upcoming Battle

Next week, Paupack begins a three-game series with North Pocono.

Currently the Trojans are at 2-1. After succumbing 13-2 against Northampton back on March 26, they surged back three days later to blank Berwick 8-0.

Last Sunday they finally returned to the diamond to harass West Scranton with a 6-1 victory.

Junior Ryan Deom leads his club with five hits and four runs while senior Ben Cruciani has racked up five RBIs.

Deom has also seen the most time on the mound, chalking up 11Ks, with senior Nate McLain right behind him in time, sending down five on strikes.

The two tango lakeside on Monday, April 16 at 4:30 p.m., then duel at North Pocono on Thursday, April 19.

The rivals wrap it up Saturday, April 21 at 11 a.m. on the shores of The Big Lake.