AP NEWS

Papura Settles Down, Shuts Down Trojans

May 1, 2019

NANTICOKE — Brad Papura’s first inning on the mound was shaping up to be a pretty good one. At the same time, it had the potential to be a disaster. Such was the case for the right-hander who finished the inning with three strikeouts, but walked the bases loaded.

But once Papura identified the issue, he was able to make a simple adjustment. From there, he dominated the game, finishing with 12 strikeouts as Crestwood defeated Nanticoke Area, 8-0, Tuesday afternoon.

“I was coming up short on my down stride,” said Papura. “I kept going high with my arm. I knew I had to go longer with my stride, that has been a problem for a while, my arm goes high. After the second inning, I started to settle in.”

It was in the second inning when Crestwood scored the only run it would need on the day. Stew Caladie reached on a one-out walk and took third on a throwing error with two outs that prolonged the inning for Nanticoke Area starter Colby Butczynski. Dean Ambosie singled off the third baseman’s glove down the left field line to score Caladie and put the Comets on the board.

From there, Papura found his rhythm. He struck out four of the next five hitters he faced, and allowed the only hit he would give up before leaving with one out in the sixth when Derek Cease singled to left with two out.

“Sometimes when they are warming up they are coming in a little bit off,” said Crestwood manager Sean Foley of Papura’s interesting first inning. “He was trying to find his release. Once we got the lead and he got his release, he was throwing strikes. We were fortunate to get out of that first inning unscathed. We have experience in that. I think six times in 10 games we have loaded the bases. Brad pitched effectively. He was working ahead of the hitters and gave the offense a chance to come through.”

Crestwood added another run in the fourth when Mike Palmiero singled home Colby Jones, and then broke the game open in the fifth with six runs. Mick Bafunno roped a two-run triple to right and eventually scored on a wild pitch.

With the win, Papura improved to 2-2 on the season, making his fifth start of the year. The Comets improved to 5-6 as they entered the game as the sixth seed in the District 2 power ratings ahead of the upcoming district playoffs. Nanticoke Area, ranked fifth in Class 4A, dropped to 8-7.

Crestwood extended its winning streak to three, its longest of the season, and has outscored its last two opponents 23-9. Foley credits the run support for the pitching staff to juggling the lineup a bit and moving some players around.

“We changed the middle of the lineup and moved some kids down in the order,” Foley said. “Some of the guys at the bottom, we slid them up a bit. Everyone is seeing pitches they can handle now and we are starting to see the whole lineup hit the ball. It’s just the approach we are having, we are starting to hit the ball the other way. I’ve said all along that pitching will keep you in any game.”

Papura was pulled from the game in the sixth after facing two batters because he reached his allotment of pitches for the day. Ambosie came on and allowed just one hit, a double to left by Matt Bobeck in the bottom of the seventh.

“I knew going into the sixth I was at 87 pitches,” Papura said. “(Foley) wanted to pull me after the first batter but I wanted to finish the inning. The run support really helped with my confidence. I think over the last three games our team chemistry has really been clicking.”

Contact the writer:

sbennett@citizensvoice.com; 570 821-2062;

@CVSteveBennett on Twitter

Crestwood Nanticoke Area

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Ambosie cf 4 0 2 1 Myers 2b 4 0 0 0

Makowski ph 1 0 0 0 Matson rf 2 0 0 0

Palmiero ss 4 0 2 1 Bielecki lf 0 0 0 0

Ferracio ph 1 0 0 0 Cease ss/p 2 0 1 0

Dean 3b 4 1 2 2 Krupinski 1b 0 0 0 0

Kruezer ph 1 0 0 0 Balliet 1b 1 0 0 0

Bafunno lf 2 1 1 2 Pokrinchak dh 2 0 0 0

Petrochko dh 3 0 0 0 Butczynski p/p 0 0 0 0

Papura p 0 0 0 0 Ormes rf 0 0 0 0

Schwartz cf 0 0 0 0 Szychowski cf 2 0 0 0

Litchofski 2b 4 1 1 0 Brown ph 1 0 0 0

Caladie 1b 3 2 1 0 Heffron 3b/p 2 0 0 0

Geroski c 3 1 1 1 Sura ph 1 0 0 0

Lyle ph 1 0 1 0 Krupinski lf 2 0 0 0

Jones rf 3 2 1 0 Makiewicz ph 1 0 0 0

Heald c 2 0 0 0

Bobeck c 1 0 1 0

Totals 34 8 12 7 Totals 23 0 2 0

Crestwood 010 160 0 — 8

Nanticoke Area 000 000 0 — 0

2B: Mike Geroski (Crest), Matt Bobeck (NA).

3B: Michael Bafunno (Crest).

Crestwood IP H R ER BB SO

Papura, WP 5 1/3 1 0 0 5 12

Ambosie 1 2/3 1 0 0 0 2

Nanticoke Area IP H R ER BB SO

Butczynski, LP 4 9 5 4 4 3

Cease 1 2 3 3 1 2

Heffron 2 1 0 0 0 1