Last updated: June 20. 2014 11:15PM - 1818 Views
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Back Mountain American's Will McCrum, rounding third base after hitting a two-run home run against Northwest, helping power the defending District 31 champs to victory on the opening night of district Little League action Friday in West Pittston.
Back Mountain American's Will McCrum, rounding third base after hitting a two-run home run against Northwest, helping power the defending District 31 champs to victory on the opening night of district Little League action Friday in West Pittston.
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WEST PITTSTON — New year, new format, same result - at least to start.

The Back Mountain American Little League team just keeps bashing its way through District 31 tournaments.

For openers, Michael Starbuck was nearly unhittable while pitching three superb innings, Will McCrum and Lucas McGeehan both laced two-run homers Friday and defending district champion Back Mountain American began District 31 tournament play with a 12-1 victory over Northwest.

“We need to get ahead and keep going and keep winning,” Starbuck said after earning the win by striking out five batters and allowing just one hit - a soft infield single in the first inning.

With basically the same players returning this year from last year’s title team, Back Mountain National had little trouble keeping its district success rolling despite a revamped format that puts teams in round-robin pool play for the opening rounds this season instead of the double-elimination format of past district summers.

Leadoff man Todd Phillips, who went 3 for 3 and scored three runs, crossed the plate with the game’s first run in the first inning. Then Phillips scored on an RBI single by Jake Connolly in the second inning, just before McCrum lined a two-run homer over the center field wall for a 4-0 Back Mountain American lead.

“I just felt relieved, to give the team an edge in the game,” McCrum said, adding he wasn’t sure his shot would clear the wall. “I was just trying to get as many bases as possible.”

An opening-game victory became even more of a possibility for American in the third inning, when McGeehan came off the bench and launched another two-run homer to center - that took nearly the same trajectory and landed in a spot almost identical to the homer McCrum hit.

“We have some kids who can generate some power,” said Joe Phillips, who is managing the American team for a third straight season. “Moreso, they practice hitting the ball on a line drive. That’s kind of the way we teach and encourage them to hit. When you hit line drives up the middle, good things happen. The home runs will come.”

American made sure runs just kept coming home, ending the game in the fifth inning by the 10-run rule.

McCrum reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second, and raced home on Starbuck’s single to right field as Back Mountain American boosted its lead to 7-0 in the fourth frame.

And after Nick Wilson singled and scored Northwest’s lone run in the top of the fifth, American responded with four hits and five runs in the bottom of the frame to finish things early.

Jack Lukasavage, who scored two runs and drove home another during his three trips to the plate, began the final outburst by dumping a single into left field. He eventually scored on a grounder. Brett Ostroski and McGeehan followed with infield singles and both also scored runs, before Todd Phillips ended the game by circling the bases and scoring when his RBI single to center field was misplayed.

“This year’s group is the same as last year,” Joe Phillips said. “They’re pitching well and playing well. (But) we don’t expect to be dominant. We know on any given day, anybody can beat anybody. We had some dinkers that fell between players, gave us some momentum. Things happened to go our way.”

Nanticoke 10, North Wilkes-Barre 0 (4 inn.)

Dylan Szychowski and Austin Norton both hit home runs as Nanticoke used the mercy rule to beat North Wilkes Barre. Colin Brown also had a double and two RBI.

J.J. Hammi led North Wilkes-Barre with a single.

Mountaintop 6, Pittston Township 3

Mike Geroski was the winning pitcher and also hit a two-run home run for Mountaintop in the victory. Bruce Leatherman, Keefer Hoover and Justin Sterling also added with home runs.

Mark Raneli had a two-run homer for Pittston Township.

Plains 8, Duryea 3

Paul Yastremski had three hits and four RBI and Darren Clark was the winning pitcher in the win for Plains. Kyle Costello, Tanner Smith and Pat Deldalso each had a hit and an RBI.

Duryea’s Gino Marriggi struck out seven and also had two hits.

Avoca/Dupont 15, Pittston City 3

Fran George was the winning pitcher and scored a run and added a hit at the plate to pace Avoca/Dupont in a game ended after four innings by the 10-run rule. Avoca/Dupont broke the game open with an eight-run third inning. Jimmy Wilk had two hits and scored two runs in the victory, while Derek Cunius scored two runs for Avoca/Dupont.

A.J. Gorto and Jake McCabe each had a hit and scored a run for Pittston City.

Back Mountain American 12, Northwest 1


Walker Yaple p,2b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Kristian Burke 2b,ss`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Matt Saxe ss`2`0`1`0`0`0`0

DeAndre Farmer 3b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Jacob Yacuboski cf`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Ethan Adams c`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

Nick Wilson c`1`1`1`0`0`0`0

Camden Capece 1b`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

Jake Trumbower 1b`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

Josh Bonomo lf`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

Hunter Burke lf`1`0`0`0`0`0`0


Back Mountain American`AB`R`H`RBI`2B`3B`HR

Todd Phillips c,ss`3`2`3`1`0`0`0

Jake Connolly 2b`3`1`1`1`0`0`0

Will McCrum ss,p`3`2`2`2`0`0`1

Michael Starbuck p,c`3`0`1`1`0`0`0

Frankie Nockley 3b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Jack Lukasavage cf`1`2`1`1`0`0`0

Dylan Schuster 1b`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

Brett Ostroski 1b`2`1`1`0`0`0`0

Sam Nocito lf`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

Lucas McGeehan lf`2`2`2`2`0`0`1

Matt Maransky rf`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

Chris Langan rf`2`1`1`1`0`0`0


Northwest`000`01` - 1

American`132`15` - 12


Yaple, L`2.3`5`6`6`4`4



Starbuck, W`3`1`0`0`1`5


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