Last updated: July 14. 2014 11:09PM - 804 Views
By Dave Rosengrant drosengrant@civitasmedia.com

Tunkhannock catcher Race Sick sets to tag out Greater Pittston's Jake Granteed to complete a game-changing triple play in the fourth inning of a WVALL playoff game Monday at Spartan Stadium.
Tunkhannock catcher Race Sick sets to tag out Greater Pittston's Jake Granteed to complete a game-changing triple play in the fourth inning of a WVALL playoff game Monday at Spartan Stadium.
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KINGSTON — Scott Zaner was in the dugout waiting five innings for his Tunkhannock team to get a big hit when needed.

The Tunkhannock manager saw his generate plenty of opportunities in the first five innings at Spartan Stadium, but it stranded eight runners on base.

Just when it looked like the team was going to leave two more runners on base in the bottom of the sixth, Cody Brown finally came through with a two-run double to lead Tunkhannock to a 3-1 victory over Greater Pittston on Monday to eliminate the defending regional and WVALL Tournament champion.

Brown saw a 1-1 fastball on the outer half of the plate from Jeremy Zezza and cranked it into centerfield to plate Ryan Weiss and Lance Sherry.

“We were just trying to keep chugging along and keep grinding it out until we get a run,” Brown said. “We were hitting them good (early in the game). We were on them, just hitting them at people.”

With the win, Tunkhannock advanced to the championship of the double-elimination league tourney to face Nanticoke. Tunkhannock will have to beat Nanticoke twice to claim its first-ever tournament title. Nanticoke has to win just once to pick up its first championship since 2000. The game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. today at Spartan Stadium, but with rain in the forecast, a plan is in place to play it Wednesday if the field is unplayable today, with a second game between the teams to follow Wednesday’s first meeting if needed.

Nanticoke (11-7) and Tunkhannock (14-5) will square off for the fourth time this season. The teams met in Saturday’s opening round with Nanticoke taking a 8-2 victory. But in their two meetings before that, Tunkhannock won both by a combined score of 12-8.

Brown’s hit was the game-winner, but the game-changing play came in the top of the fourth inning when Greater Pittston laoded the bases with no outs and Tunkhannock turned a rare triple play. Zezza was at bat and grounded to the shortstop Brown, who shoveled to second baseman Lane Cecccarelli for the first out. Ceccarelli fired to first baseman Ryan Weiss, who then made a heads up play throwing home to catcher Race Sick in time to get Jake Granteed - who was trying to score from second after one run had already scored.

“I’ve never been involved in a ballgame with a triple play,” Zaner said. “It was fantastic, kind of unconventional, but it was exciting.”

That was costly for GP because Tunkhannock right-hander Josh McClain was unhittable at times. Perfect through the first three innings, he only allowed four hits in the complete-game effort, while striking out six without issuing a single walk.

“Josh pitched a heck of a game,” Zaner added. “He pitched well for us all year long.”

Greater Pittston, which ends its season with a record of 8-11, had a good run. If it wasn’t for league rules stating that an undefeated team (Swoyersville) automatically advances to the regional tournament, GP wouldn’t have even qualified for the league tournament. The team got solid pitching from Zezza, who also threw a complete game and danced in and out of trouble the entire game until Brown’s hit.

There was also a bit of controversy in the top of the sixth before Brown’s hit as Sherry singled to right field, but GP manager Jerry Raineli argued that baserunner Bobby Gilpin was hit by the batted ball meaning the runner would be out, but it wasn’t called. That would have ended the inning and Brown would have led off the next inning.

“It’s hard to win the region then come back because everybody’s shooting for you,” Raineli said. “I’m proud of them because they never quit. They battled hard. We didn’t have the postgrads and the pitching that we had last year, but they came and played hard every game. That’s all I could ask for as a manager.”


Tunkhannock 3, Greater Pittston 1

Greater Pittston`AB`R`H`BI`2B`3B`HR

Jordan Zezza cf`3`1`1`0`1`0`0

Jake Granteed ss`2`0`1`0`0`0`0

Joey Gavenonis c`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

Jeremy Zezza p`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Nick Gushka rf`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Lou Tzamalas dh`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Tyler Mitchell 1b`3`0`1`0`1`0`0

Brandon Walker 2b`3`0`1`0`0`0`0

Mark Prebish 3b`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Tyler Dougherty lf `2`0`0`0`0`0`0



Lance Sherry cf`4`1`2`0`0`0`0

Cody Brown ss`3`1`2`2`1`0`0

Tyler Weiss 3b`2`0`1`0`0`0`0

Josh McClain p`2`0`2`1`1`0`0

Brett Soltysiak rf`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Jordan Hannon dh`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Race Sick c`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Bobby Gilpin lf`3`0`2`0`0`0`0

Lane Ceccarelli 2b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Ryan Weiss 1b`3`1`0`0`0`0`0


Greater Pittston`000`000`0`—`0


Greater Pittston`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Jeremy Zezza (L)`6.0`9`3`3`3`5


Josh McClain (W)`7.0`4`1`1`0`6

WVALL Champions

2013 – Greater Pittston (Swoyersville advanced to regionals as top seed for undefeated record)

2012 – Greater Pittston

2011 – Back Mountain

2010 – Greater Pittston

2009 – Mountain Post

2008 – Plymouth

2007 – Plymouth

2006 – Plains

2005 – Greater Pittston

2004 – Greater Pittston

2003 – Greater Pittston

2002 – Greater Pittston

2001 – Plymouth

2000 – Nanticoke

1999 – Greater Pittston

1998 – Plymouth

1997 – Greater Pittston

1996 – Plains

1995 – Wilkes-Barre

1994 – Nanticoke

1993 – Hazleton

1992 – Nanticoke

1991 – Back Mountain and Hanover

1990 – Greater Pittston

1989 – Plymouth

1988 – Back Mountain

1987 – Plymouth

1986 – Northwest-Benton

1985 – Plymouth

1984 – Hanover and Plains

1983 – Greater Pittston

1982 – Swoyersville

1981 – Wilkes-Barre

1980 – Plains

1979 – Wilkes-Barre

1978 – Greater Pittston

1977 – Greater Pittston

1976 – Greater Pittston

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