timesleader.com

Mike Blazaskie leads Nanticoke to PA American Legion Region 5 title shot

By Paul Sokoloski psokoloski@civitasmedia.com

July 22, 2014

Still smarting from its first regional defeat, the Nanticoke American Legion baseball team received some uplifting advice from its leader.


“I just told the kids after the game, you have to forget about it an move on,” Nanticoke manager Joe Yudichak said.


Mike Blazaskie listened.


Blazaskie struck out nine batters in a complete-game performance and accounted for six runs at the plate Tuesday as Nanticoke earned a berth in the Pennsylvania American Legion Region 5 finals by dumping Dickson City, 13-3 at Mansfield University’s Shaute Field.


“He really impressed me today,” Yudichak said of the guy they call Blazer. “He kept wanting the ball, giving us the innings we really needed. He had a big game at the plate and a big game pitching.”


That set up another big showdown with unbeaten Wyoming Valley rival Swoyersville, which handed Nanticoke a 13-3 shellacking Monday and sent Nanticoke into the losers bracket of the double-elimination tournament.


“It was a difficult loss,” Yudichak said. “You’ve got to keep playing. They (the Nanticoke players) did that. They played very well (Tuesday).”


So well, in fact, it took just eight innings of a game against Dickson City on Tuesday for Nanticoke to earn a 9 a.m. rematch with Swoyersville today at Shaute Field in the regional finals. If Nanticoke beats Swoyersville for the first time in four tries this morning, the two teams will play again afterwards to decide the regional championship and a state playoff berth.


Blazaskie played a big role in helping put Nanticoke in that position.


The former Hanover Area fireballer fanned nine, and kept the damage to a minimum while surrendering 12 hits on the day. Most impressively, he limited the red-hot bat of Dickson City’s Chris Rebar - who hit a grand slam, a two-run homer and drove in 10 of his team’s 11 runs in a victory over South Scranton on Monday.


Although Rebar scored two runs and ripped an RBI double that helped Dickson City to a 2-1 lead against Nanticoke in the third inning, Blazaskie regained control over the final five innings.


At the plate, Blazaskie went 3 for 4, scored four runs and drove home two more. Shortstop Christian Pack got over a rough day in the field Monday by pounding out three hits including two doubles, driving home three runs and scoring twice against Dickson City.


Nick Deno and Morgan Higgs also had three hits, Tyler Myers went 2 for 3 and Higgs and Myers - the bottom two batters in Nanticoke’s order - combined to score five runs.


“Tyler and Higgs came through big-time,” Yudichak said.


That sent Nanticoke into at least one more big battle with 22-0 Swoyersville.


“It doesn’t surprise me,” Yudichak said of his team’s quick recovery. “I knew this group had it in them. These guys, they’re a bunch of winners, no matter what we do (today). I’m very proud of them.”


NANTICOKE`AB`R`H`RBI`2B`3B`HR


Christian Pack ss`5`2`3`3`2`0`0


Mike Sulcoski c`4`1`1`2`0`0`0


Mike Blazaskie p`4`4`3`2`0`0`0


Nick Deno 3b`5`1`3`0`0`0`0


Mike Bugonovicz 1b`5`0`3`2`0`0`0


Zac White rf`3`0`1`1`0`0`0


Eric Grzynski rf`1`0`0`1`0`0`0


John Wickiser cf`4`0`0`0`0`0`0


Morgan Higgs lf`4`2`3`0`0`0`0


Tyler Myers 2b`3`3`2`1`0`1`0


Totals`38`13`19`12`2`1`0


DICKSON CITY`AB`R`H`RBI`2B`3B`HR


Justin King cf`4`0`1`0`0`0`0


Ethan Hazonthal 3b`4`1`2`0`0`0`0


Chris Rebar p`5`2`2`1`1`0`0


Andy Salzmann 2b`4`0`2`1`0`0`0


Carman Dullin 1b`4`0`2`1`1`0`0


Jacob Donlin rf`3`0`1`0`0`0`0


Jorden White rf`1`0`0`0`0`0`0


Matt Higgins ss`3`0`0`0`0`0`0


Chris Hemonchak lf`3`0`0`0`0`0`0


Mark Horvath lf`1`0`0`0`0`0`0


Jon Martino c`4`0`2`0`0`0`0


Totals`36`3`12`3`2`0`0


Nanticoke`001`023`34` - 13


Dickson City`002`010`00` - 3


NANTICOKE`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO


Blazaskie, W`8`12`3`3`2`9


DICKSON CITY`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO


Rebar, L`5`6`5`4`2`4


Donlin`0.1`2`1`1`2`0


White`0`3`2`2`0`0


Horvath`0.1`1`1`1`3`0


Higgins`2.1`7`4`4`1`1


wins that game, the team will meet again afterwards , which handed Nanticoke a 13-3 shellacking Monday to send Nanticoke in the losers bracket.from that shellacking by Swoyersville,