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Last updated: July 14. 2014 11:09PM - 747 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


Totals`23`1`4`0`2`0`0`


Tunkhannock`AB`R`H`BI`2B`3B`HR


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


Totals`25`3`9`3`2`0`0


Greater Pittston`000`000`0`—`0


Tunkhannock`000`000`0`—`0


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


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


Tunkhannock`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO


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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