EAST STROUDSBURG Greg Wierzbiki knew that East Stroudsburg Mustangs had swept the regular season series against his Towamensing Yankees.
On Thursday night in the opening round of the Keystone Babe Ruth League American Division Tournament, Wierzbiki and the rest of the Yankees prevented a third loss against the Mustangs when it mattered most.
It took Wierzbiki 156 pitches to get the job done on the mound and his Yankee teammates gave him plenty of run support in a 12-6 complete game victory over the hosts.
"It was good to come back here and get a little bit of revenge against them," smiled Wierzbiki, who finished with 10 strikeouts, six walks and one hit batsman.
The Yankees face regular season American Division champion Franklin Township Shockers tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Christman Field.
While Wierzbiki held the Mustangs to four hits in the game, his teammates had four hits in each of two big innings.
"They were incredible," Wierzbicki said. "We scored 12 runs. They kept hitting, hitting and hitting and they were relentless against their pitching. It was good to have the back-up that I did."
Ryan Saylor, who went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and four RBIS, was glad to help give Wierzbiki some room to work.
"We always have our pitchers' backs," Saylor said. "We knew he had a lot of pitches, but going out there and pitching the way he did was a really great job on his part. All we had to do is help him."
Saylor keyed the fourth inning with a two-run single, while Tyler Svetik, Rich Steigerwalt and Mike Sander chipped in with RBI singles as the team batted around in the inning.
The Yankees struck back with a three-run fifth inning to get within a run at 7-6.
That's as close as the Mustangs came. The Yankees answered by loading the bases three times in the sixth and pushing across five runs. Rich Steigerwalt scored on a fielding miscue to get things started. Tanner Gutekunst drew a bases loaded walk. Mike Horvath and Saylor hit back-to-back RBI singles to add insurance runs.
Wierzbiki remained strong in the late innings, keeping the Mustangs ffrom closing the gap.
"I went to the mound and I told him, 'Greg, let's start getting ahead with your fastball and then use the curveball when you get ahead in the count," Towamensing manager Don Hunter said. "Once we made that adjustment, he got straightened out and he was on.
"Unfortunately, our defense doesn't always play well behind him, but we did make some good plays when they were needed. We didn't always play well and that's what caused the pitch count to go up."
Steigerwalt had a double, triple, two runs scored, three RBIs and a walk. Mike Sander (two singles) and Wierzbiki (two singles, run scored) also had big days at the plate.
The Yankees look forward to a grudge match with the Shockers.
"We have momentum now," Wierzbiki said. "We split with them during the regular season. So, it should be interesting. It's going to be a rubber game."
"The last time we played the Shockers it was one heck of a match," Saylor added. "We fought them really hard. And now, I think at full strength we're definitely going in looking to play another great game."
Towamensing 200 505 0 - 12 12 4
E. Stroudsburg 300 030 0 - 6 4 4
Wierzbiki and Sander; Montalvo, Mum Bauer (4), Ammerman (6), Nieves (6) and Clare. W - Wierzbiki. L - Montalvo.