Mustangs oust Black Diamonds
Panther Valley and its season ran out of gas Tuesday night.
No-hit by East Stroudsburg's Rob Solano, the Black Diamonds dropped a 7-0 decision and were officially eliminated from the Keystone Senior Babe Ruth playoffs.
"He was absolutely nasty," said PV manager Chris West. "He had great command of his pitches and had us off-balance all night. It wasn't that anything he threw was overpowering but he kept our kids off-balanced and that's all he needed to do.
"The team we had this year, we had 11 kids on our roster. There's only so many times you can ask those kids to dig into the tank. We lost to this team in the first round of the playoffs ... and I don't think there was much left in our tank. I think they were physically and emotionally drained. If we could have gotten up early, maybe it would have been a different story but we couldn't generate any offense."
Solano had a lot to do with that.
The right-hander struck out 10 batters.
"I warmed up just five minutes before the game started, so I was worried about that," said Solano. "But as soon as I got on the mound I felt comfortable.
"They weren't catching up to the fastball. The curveball was really on and that was my go-to pitch. I was also mixing in a slider to throw them off a bit."
PV starter Zach Stanko also kept the Mustangs off the board for the first two frames but East Stroudsburg got to him in the home third.
Danny Knowles opened the scoring with a home run to center. Joe Jessen added an RBI single and an error plated a third run.
"Zach pitched a solid game for us for a few innings but your tank starts running pretty low when you realize your guys aren't putting the ball in play and putting runs on the board," said West. "That's was happened, the energy just faded as the game went on."
Unfortunately for the Black Diamonds, as their energy faded East Stroudsburg's rose to another level.
The Mustangs used a run-scoring single from Jay Maletz and a two-run double by Nick Kazura in the fourth to push the margin to 6-0.
"The bats came alive," said Solano, who threw 104 pitches including 67 for strikes. "We've been hitting all postseason."
While the Black Diamonds weren't great in their finale (only two baserunners made it as far as second base), they met and actually exceeded their season goals.
"Our expectations in the beginning of the year, knowing we only had 11 kids, were that we would be lucky to finish .500," said West, whose team finished with a 13-8 record. "The fact that we were the No. 3 seed in our division and that none of the 11 kids ever quit makes us exceptionally thrilled and proud of the effort they gave this season."
Black Diamonds 000 000 0 - 0 0 4
Mustangs 003 310 x - 7 10 1
Solano and Jessen; Stanko and Trimmel. W - Solano. L - Stanko. HR: ES - Knowles (3rd, none on).