DALLAS — When 91 pitches are thrown in the first inning alone, it’s safe to say a pitching duel wasn’t on the horizon.
And it wasn’t Monday night in the Section 5 Little League Major Baseball elimination game at Back Mountain Little League.
Instead, Abington and Back Mountain National locked up in a marathon battle of survival with Abington coming out on top 15-10.
Abington now has the huge task of defeating Greater Pittston Area twice Tuesday to win the Section 5 championship and a spot in the state playoffs at Valley West Little League in Conyngham. The teams will play at 5:30 p.m. at Back Mountain Little League. If GPA loses the game, another will be played shortly after the first.
As for Monday’s game, it ended at 10:16 p.m. after BMN staved off losing by the 10-run rule in the fourth and made one final effort to rally in the sixth. A late start after the 9-11 elimination game, delays for an equipment issue and an injury, numerous pitching visits and 267 pitches made for a late exit from the field.
The teams also combined for 24 hits and 14 walks, but perhaps the most amazing stats was Abington batters had 40 plate appearances and didn’t strike out.
BMN got off to a strong start with three runs in the top of the first. Brady Ecenrode had an RBI single and Jim Youngblood later knocked in two more runs with a single.
BMN’s three-run lead didn’t last long. Abington sent 14 players to the plate in the bottom of the first and scored 10 runs. Jack Nalewenko had a two-run double in the frame.
BMN chipped at the seven-run deficit and pulled within 10-6 in the top of the third. Kevin Osipower scored on an error in the second. An RBI double by Youngblood and a run-scoring single by Bobby Gallagher plated two more in the third.
Abington, though, responded with two runs in the bottom of the third and three more in the fourth. It was a run away from the 10-run mercy rule, but had a runner thrown out at the plate trying to score from second on an error.
BMN added a run in the fifth on another RBI double by Youngblood, making it 15-7. The team didn’t concede a loss in the sixth as Pat Flanagan led off with a double and Dylan Chapman singled. Ecenrode then singled in a run, Youngblood got his fifth RBI on a fielder’s choice and Gallagher doubled in another, cutting the deficit to 15-10 with two outs. Abington reliever Jack Pavluk got a flyout to end the game.