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On This Date (June 2, 2004): Field HR lifts PV

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Since May of 1999, the Times News Sports Department has featured an On This Date practically every day, highlighting an event that happened in the past. With the coronavirus putting a halt to sports locally and nationally, the On This Dates have been expanded to the stories that actually ran in the next day’s newspaper. Today’s On This Date story is from June 2, 2004).

By Lou Rusnock


PINE GROVE - Panther Valley’s Chas Field lost a one-hitter in the sixth inning, his team lost the lead in the seventh. Still, the sophomore pitcher and cleanup hitter needed something to give his mother Darlene for her birthday.

How about a two-run walk-off home run?

Field ended a wild eight-inning District 11 class A semifinal game with a monstrous blast to left center field, lifting Panther Valley over Shenandoah Valley 10-8 and giving his mother a birthday gift to remember.

“[Shenandoah pitcher Shane Reinoehl] hung a curveball high over the plate,” said Field. “I just wanted to hit it and bring in the run.”

Field smashed the first pitch he saw well over the 345-foot mark on the fence at Walter Stump Stadium and off Schuylkill Haven’s team bus, sending the Panthers (12-10) back to the District championship game where they’ll defend their title against Haven, a 2-1 winner over Tri-Valley. But it wasn’t easy.

Leading 6-1 going into the sixth inning, the Panthers were cruising. Field had retired 13 straight and the offense had already banged out 10 hits and chased Reinoehl, the starter, from the game. But the scrappy Blue Devils (9-13) refused to quit.

After a leadoff single by Joe McTiernan, Field loaded the bases on two walks. A sacrifice fly by Tony Rizzardi brought in one run, and a second scored when the Panthers failed to execute a rundown on the third base line. Frank Maurer then came on in relief of Field, striking out the first batter he faced. But Brian Rooney got the Devils to within one run, slapping a single to center and plating two more runners.

Shenandoah Valley surged ahead in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on a hit and two errors to take an 8-6 lead. Reinoehl, who had been relieved by freshman southpaw Koury Kaplafka in the fifth, re-entered to try and close out the win.

With one out, Jake Hoffer reached on an infield single, but he was forced out at second on a fielder’s choice. The next batter, designated hitter Kevin Hoben, fell behind 0-2 before knocking a single to left center. Then number nine hitter Brandon Blasko, who was also down to his last strike, reached when a throw from shortstop Ricardo Mosquera sailed wide. The errant throw plated courtesy runner Dave Boyle and moved pinch runner Ricky Keiffer to third. Reinoehl intentionally walked Dave Blasko to load the bases, but a wild pitch to Nick Collura allowed Keiffer to score the tying run.

“We’re down to our last strike and Kevin Hoben came up big with a hit,” said Panther Valley coach John Cooper. “When we have last bats, I have confidence that we can get a run. It’s a risky strategy but we came back with the bats and got it done.”

Maurer retired the side in the top of the eighth, setting the stage for Field’s heroics. Joel Porambo, who was 4-for-5 with two RBI and three runs scored, led off the bottom of the eighth with a single to left center. He was attempting to steal second when Field (2-for-5, three RBI) crushed the game-winner.

“Our strategy was to steal Joel over, and hopefully they’d pitch around Chas,” said Cooper. “We thought we could bunt them into scoring position and go from there.”

Field made sure that wasn’t necessary, making Reinoehl’s 96th pitch of the game his most regrettable one.

“We went with experience,” said Shenandoah Valley coach Jeff Maksimik. “Shane has been our guy all year and once we brought him in, we were staying with him. I couldn’t have asked for anything more from this group of kids.”

The rematch of last year’s District final between the Panthers and Hurricanes will take place tonight at 7 p.m. in Pine Grove. Panther Valley won last year’s game 5-4.

Shenandoah Vy. 100 004 30 - 8 4 3

Panther Valley 102 120 22 - 10 14 3

Reinoehl, Kaplafka (5), Reinoehl (7) and C. Rizzardi; Field, Maurer (6) and Hoffer. W - Maurer. L - Reinoehl. HR - Panther Valley: Maurer (4th, bases empty), Field (8th, one on).

Chas Field's walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth inning sent Panther Valley to the District 11 class A championship game in 2004. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO