Outlaws edge Black Diamonds
bob ford/times news Panther Valley Black Diamond second baseman Brandon Gurka puts the tag on the Pocono Mountain Outlaws' Tommy Robson. Robson was safe on the play.
In the early going, the Panther Valley Black Diamonds weren't hesitant.
As last night's American League tournament winner's bracket final went on, the Pocono Mountain Outlaws pitcher Joel Soler, caught the hosts on their heels.
Soler turned up the pressure even more in the Keystone Senior Babe Ruth League Tournament after the visitors gave him enough run support heading into the final inning.
After Black Diamonds' coach Chris West tried to get his players back into rhythm late in the game, a seventh-inning rally was a little too late as the No. 2 seeded Outlaws knocked off the top seeded Black Diamonds, 7-6.
The Outlaws move onto the American League tournament final and will be idle until Saturday when they face the winner coming out of the loser's bracket. The Black Diamonds, meanwhile will host the winner of tonight's Hazleton-McAdoo/Treskow game, on Thursday.
"I think when you get into a game situation where there's pressure and it's a playoff game, sometimes a young player will get up at the plate and they're hesitant whether to swing the bat, look for a walk or wait for the right pitch," West said. "Before you know it, one or two pitches are across the plate for a strike and you're pressing."
Zach Stanko, the Black Diamonds starting pitcher, had the Outlaws standing shell-shocked at the plate the first two innings. Stanko had his fastball working wonders as he struck out the side twice. His only miscue was a Greg Soler triple that scored Tommy Robson, who had reached on an error.
The Black Diamonds actually held a 2-0 lead thanks to Brandon Gurka's RBI-triple and Gurka crossing home plate on a double steal
In the third inning, the Outlaws zoned in on Stanko to take the lead for good.
Chris Star singled and Joel Soler walked, setting up Dyan Transue's three-run homer to left for a 4-2 lead.
Gurka pulled the Black Diamonds closer in the fourth with an RBI-single, which scored Nick McArdle.
In the sixth, Soler helped himself with a solo homerun off of Stanko and Robson delivered an RBI-single to give the Outlaws a 6-3 lead.
Greg Pecha came on in relief and allowed a RBI single to Joey Scott. The Black Diamonds eventually pulled a double play to end any more threats.
"We have seen him (Stanko) before and he's got quality stuff," said Pocono Mountain Outlaws' manager Chris Martinelli, of Stanko, who finished with nine strikeouts. "We know when we see him, we have to be on our game. He dominated us in the early going, but he left a couple of fastballs up. Our hitters just needed an inning or two to time him and then we made him pay a little bit for leaving a few fastballs high."
After Soler retired a stretch of seven batters, by recording five of his nine strikeouts in the fifth and sixth innings, the Black Diamonds finally became a bit aggressive with the bat.
Two quick groundouts put their backs to the wall, but Stanko gave his team new life with a triple to left-center in the bottom of the seventh. Dave Marouchoc followed with an RBI-triple to pull closer.
Pecha found the right pitch after striking out twice and clubbed it for a two-run homer to put the Black Diamonds within one.
Josh Faenza singled and Ryan Poeldnurk walked to make things interesting. Soler made Dave Vidzicki his last strikeout victim to end the hosts' hopes of a come-back victory.
The Black Diamonds drop their first loss at home of the season.
"Our guys got too patient at the plate," West said. "They were undisciplined in the sense they weren't aggressive and it cost us.
"The bats woke up too late there and by the time we decided to swing, we were too far in a hole to get back into the swing of things and we fell short in the end."
Outlaws 013 003 0 - 7 9 3
B. Diamonds 200 100 3 - 6 7 2
J. Soler and Scott; Stanko, Pecha (6) and Marouchoc. W - J. Soler. L - Stanko. HR: PM Transue (3rd, two on), J. Soler (6th, none on); PV Pecha (7th, one on).
The Franklin Shockers and McAdoo/Treskow resumed the game that ended 9-9 on Sunday after it was suspended due to darkness.
The game was picked up in the 8th inning and the Nationals didn't waste any time ending it. Corey Ryba came up to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs and hit a walkoff single to eliminate the Shockers.