DALLAS – The Back Mountain Little League made a habit of its National vs. American showdowns in District 31 baseball elimination games this season.
The last of them came Wednesday night when Back Mountain National used a seven-run fourth inning to get past Back Mountain American, 11-5, and into Saturday’s scheduled district championship game against Kingston/Forty Fort.
“It’s always tough and part of the reason is you know when you play against another team from Back Mountain, they’re going to be well-coached and well-prepared,” National manager Al Zangardi said. “They work hard and there’s a lot of talent on both sides.”
The rest of the District 31 baseball teams can attest to that.
They were unable to prevent the repeated matchups.
Back Mountain National and American played for the title in Major baseball (11-12-year-old) and also had a semifinal meeting in the 9-11-year-old division.
National won all three games.
“It was exciting,” Zangardi said. “It was fun for both sides and I think it was a great baseball game.”
American made it interesting. It led, 2-0, after 2 ½ innings and was within, 4-3, until the big bottom of the fourth.
Will Jenkins tripled and drove in four runs while Dominick Zangardi added a triple and double in the win.
Brady Youngblood and winning pitcher Scott Egbert each had a single and double. Egbert also scored twice.
Bobby Gallagher and Will Sordoni had two hits for American, which got a double from Bobby Gregor.
National went 2-0 to win Pool A and American went 2-1 to take second in Pool B and set up Wednesday’s matchup.
Winning pitcher Will Jenkins drove in three runs with a double and two singles when National opened with an 8-7 victory over Kingston/Forty Fort July 6.
Jenkins worked the first four innings for the win and Egbert went the final two to pick up the save.
Dominick Zangardi doubled, singled and scored three times. Youngblood had two hits and drove in a run.
National then handled Harveys Lake, 17-2, July 8.
American clinched the semifinal berth with a 15-4 win over Northwest July 6, then lost to Greater Wyoming Area, 12-2, to decide the pool winner July 8. Both games were decided in four innings.
Wilson Sordoni had a triple, single and three RBI in the win over Northwest. Kevin Osipower went 3-for-3 with a walk. Bobby Gregor added a double and two RBI.
Logan Geskey was the winning pitcher.
DALLAS – Liam Hite, Jared Adamski and Gary Weaver all had three hits Wednesday when Back Mountain rallied to defeat Greater Wyoming Area, 13-10, in eight innings in the first game of a best-of-three District 31 championship series.
The scheduled seven-inning game was the completion of a suspended game from Tuesday.
The teams started out at Greater Wyoming Area where the hosts took a 2-1 lead through three innings before the game was suspended because of rain.
Back Mountain’s scheduled Wednesday home game was altered to make it the completion of Game One and then Game Two in a doubleheader. Those plans had to be scrapped when the remainder of Game One turned out to be a lengthy battle that went on for more than two hours.
“We used six pitchers,” Back Mountain manager Kevin Seymour said. “We were constantly adjusting, trying to hold guys to 30 pitches for the doubleheader, then we had to go to 20 pitches (to keep eligible for Thursday).”
When it still appeared there was another game to be played that night, Greater Wyoming Area took an 8-3 lead by scoring five times in the bottom of the fifth.
Back Mountain rallied with seven runs in the top of the sixth before needing to pull out the win in an extra inning.
“Our guys just kept battling and stayed in the game with some key hits,” Seymour said.
Hite’s single up the middle drove in the first run in the seven-run sixth. His infield single with two out and the bases loaded broke the tie in the eighth.
Adamski scored twice and drove in two runs.
Weaver drove in a run and was the winning pitcher with 1 2/3 of scoreless relief, including getting out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh with the winning run 90 feet from home.
Mitch Burgess had two hits and three RBI.
Justin Moss, who scored twice joined Ethan Leone and Jacob Seymour in also producing two hits.
SECTION 5 MAJOR SOFTBALL
OLD FORGE – Back Mountain worked its way back through the elimination bracket to force a deciding game before falling to Pittston Area, 3-0, in the July 7 championship game with a state tournament berth at stake.
Chelcie Strobel started the third inning with a single and Back Mountain wound up with two runners in scoring position before being retired. Brenna Hunt had a hit in the fifth inning before Pittston Area’s Gianna Adams retired the final five batters.
Pittston Area scored twice in the first and once in the sixth.
Back Mountain had forced the deciding game by beating Tripp Park, 5-2, in the elimination bracket final July 5, then rallying from an early three-run deficit to beat Pittston Area, 9-3, the next day.
Through two rounds of the state tournament that remained the only loss inflicted on Pittston Area.
Winning pitcher Victoria Spaciano had two hits and scored two runs, including the game winner. She struck out seven without walking a batter.
Back Mountain put together all nine of its hits in the final three innings, including three extra-base hits, all from spots sixth or lower in the batting order, including two from substitutes.
“I have total confidence in all of our batters,” Back Mountain manager George Vitanovec said. “Any of them can do it.”
Amber Zimmerman came off the bench for a hit in the third straight game when she doubled in two runs to start the Back Mountain scoring.
Ava Smith, the last sub to bat, led off the fifth with a triple and scored the tying run.
Abby Cruz doubled to the left-field fence to drive in the go-ahead run and get the six-run, sixth-inning outburst rolling.
SECTION 5 JUNIOR SOFTBALL
Mountain Top defeated Harveys Lake, 18-4, July 6 in the deciding game of the best-of-three championship series.
Each team had a one-run win to start the series.
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