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Lansford falls to Mahanoy in Teener League opener

Local baseball is back with a bang after being silenced all spring due to COVID-19.

On Sunday night, Lansford hosted Mahanoy Area in a Schuylkill County Teener League junior division game.

Eventually, Mahanoy capitalized on two Lansford errors and an explosive triple to pull away for a 5-2 victory.

It was apparent from the start that the players from both teams were excited about returning to summer action.

On the first pitch, Lansford’s Chase Weaver lashed a comet-like line drive over the right side of second base for a single. On the next pitch, he stole second.

A couple of pitches later, Weaver scurried to third and then home while Mahanoy made a play at first on a grounder off the bat of A.J. Jewells. This game Lansford a 1-0 lead.

“All he has to do is get on base, and he’s dangerous,” said Lansford coach Tim Goida of Weaver. “He makes things happen.”

For the first five innings, a pitching clinic ensued by both starters.

Tyler Black was the first hurler for Lansford. He allowed only one base runner in the first three innings, and a total of just three in his five innings on the mound.

In addition, all 10 of his first-inning pitches were in the strike zone: five called strikes, three hit foul and two hit for pop-ups. Black struck out four and issued no walks.

Black thew a total of 52 pitches before Goida relieved him in hopes of using him later in the week, as the juniors have three more games scheduled this week.

Mahanoy scored two runs in the fourth when Lucas Karnish reached on an error and scored on a triple by Dylan Davidson. Another infield error allowed Davidson to score the go-ahead run to make it 2-1.

Then in the sixth, two more errors and a couple of base hits allowed Mahanoy to score three runs and take a 5-1 lead. One of those hits was by Davidson, who finished 3-for-3.

“A few errors kind of opened the flood gates,” said Goida.

A flicker of hope emerged for Lansford in the top of the seventh when a pair of walks and an error loaded the bases with two outs. Justin Babinetz hit a single, driving home Albin Pitchauer.

Karnish, who came in as Mahanoy’s reliever an inning earlier, got the third out via strikes.

Despite the loss, Goida was pleased with the performance of his pitchers - Black and reliever Brady Jones.

“Tyler had a great game,” said Goida. “Brady threw good, too. Unfortunately, the defense didn’t help him out.”

William Mayberry was the starter for Mahanoy, giving up just two hits, striking out three and walking one in his five innings.

Lansford had only three hits in the game. They were by Weaver, Jewells and Babinetz. Mahanoy had five - three of them by Davidson.

“That triple (by Davidson) opened it up,” said Mahanoy coach Jim Mayberry, who has a young team (of his 12 roster members, five came up from Little League and the rest are second-year players). “I thought the pitching was excellent. I didn’t expect that kind of pitching this early.

“I was very happy they pulled this one out.”

A VERY BUSY SCHEDULE ... Goida coaches both the junior and senior entries in the Schuylkill League. The schedule was put together hastily after the season was delayed because of COVID-19. Goida’s two teams fill his schedule just about every day during July. As an example, the senior team hosts Hegins this evening. On Tuesday, the junior team plays in Lansford against a Pottsville team. And on Wednesday, the junior team plays in Tamaqua against Hope’s Collision.

TOUGH START FOR SENIORS ... Goida’s senior team has a tough start when it plays Hegins tonight. Last year, Hegins won the junior division championship, while Lansford finished in second place in what was its first year in the league. Each matchup between the two teams last year was close.

UMPIRES ALSO HAPPY ... Terry Miller was the umpire for last night’s game, saying he is “very happy” live baseball is underway again.

Miller is one of the highest regarded umpires in the area.

“Finally, we’ll be seeing stories on live events again,” he said.

Lansford 100 000 1 - 2 3 4

Mahanoy 000 203 x - 5 5 1

Black, Jones (6) and Engler; Mayberry, Karnish (6) and Terry. W - Mayberry. L - Black.

Lansford's Connor Penberth blocks second base and gets the tag on Mahanoy baserunner Brady Alansky. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS