HUGHESTOWN – Greater Pittston manager Jerry Ranieli knew it could not remain so easy for his Senior American Legion baseball team.
After 3 ½ games and 21 innings, Greater Pittston was unbeaten and had crushed the opposition by a total of 35-1.
Plains changed that Wednesday night before Greater Pittston rallied to post a 7-5 victory over its visiting neighbor in a Wyoming Valley League game.
“We knew we would be tested and we knew it was going to be today,” Ranieli said after the win. “They have a lot of good arms and they played us tough even though they were missing two of their players.”
Playing without Michael Delaney and John Fagotti because of graduation ceremonies at Pittston Area High School, Plains took a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the fifth.
Greater Pittston let an early 4-0 lead get away, then rallied from behind and pulled out a win on Tyler Mitchell’s two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the sixth inning.
“Tyler’s been hitting the ball hard in a lot of key spots,” Ranieli said.
Mitchell had two hits and eight teammates had one each.
“The whole team’s been contributing, top to bottom,” Ranieli said. “Gavin Malampy comes off the bench and gets us a big hit.”
Malampy was inserted on defense in the top of the fifth as part of a three-way switch when starting designated hitter Joe Gavenonis took over on the mound. Malampy erased the Plains the lead with a two-out RBI single in his only at-bat.
Gavenonis, who had a two-run single to key a four-run second inning, got the win with 2 2/3 innings of one-hit, scoreless relief.
Starting pitcher Zach Lopatka and Tyler Dougherty also had RBI singles in the second inning.
Lopatka was unhittable early before Plains got to him in the fourth and fifth innings. He struck out five straight and fanned seven total while retiring the first 10 batters.
Plains then put together four straight hits, followed by a sacrifice and Steve Dressler’s two-run double to tie the game in the fourth.
Taylor Chronowski led off with a single and eventually scored in the fifth inning when Plains took the lead and chased Lopatka.
Greater Pittston 14, Wilkes-Barre 4
Zach Lopatka had a triple, single, three RBI and two runs scored Thursday when Greater Pittston remained undefeated with a 14-4, five-inning victory at Wilkes-Barre.
Tyler Mitchell went 3-for-3 with an RBI. Joe Gavenonis had a triple, single and RBI. Cory Lescavage doubled twice and scored twice.
Tyler Jackson was the winning pitcher.
Greater Pittston 6-7, Back Mountain 0-1
Jeremy Zezza threw a four-hit shutout in the first game and Lucas Jurchak struck out 10 in five innings of the second game when Greater Pittston swept a June 7 doubleheader at Back Mountain, 6-0, 7-1.
Zezza, who struck out seven, and Kyle Charney had two hits each in the opener.
Tyler Mitchell and Gavin Malampy each had two hits and two RBI in the nightcap. Zach Lopatka, who had a triple, and Tyler Jackson also had two hits each.
Jurchak allowed three hits and three walks. He pitched four scoreless innings, extending Greater Pittston’s unscored-upon streak to begin the season to 15 innings, before allowing one run in the fifth.
Jackson and Robbie Wychock, who worked a 1-2-3 seventh, each pitched one inning.
Tunkhannock 4, Plains 3
Plains suffered its second straight defeat, dropping a 4-3 decision at home against Tunkhannock Thursday.
Greater Pittston remained unbeaten by winning its only game of the week, defeating Tunkhannock, 7-1, Wednesday.