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Little League: Abington Leads Pittston City/Duryea Before Delay

July 15, 2018

DURYEA — Back Mountain National is going to have to wait a few more hours to find out its next opponent in the Section 5 Major baseball tournament.

Abington National took a 4-3 lead over Pittston City/Duryea on a two-run error in the bottom of the third inning before a flash of lightning lit up the sky behind home plate around 9 p.m — sending the game into a delay. Fifteen minutes later, the rain began to fall at the Duryea Little League field as officials decided to suspend the contest around 9:30 p.m.

It will be resumed at 3 p.m. today as Abington has the bases loaded and one out with Thomas LaCoe at the plate and a 2-0 count on him.

The two games scheduled for today will go on as normal. Green Ridge will face off with the loser of the 3 p.m. contest at 5:45 p.m., while BMN takes on the winner at 8 p.m.

“Hopefully, we can get the nerves settled down,” Pittston City/Duryea manager Lou Lussi said. “Maybe playing a doubleheader could benefit us tomorrow. We had like six or seven walks, and a lot of uncharacteristic errors. Hopefully, we can play two and get two wins. Hey, it’s only 4-3 and we have some innings left. The boys are going to hit the ball.”

It was National that took the early lead in the first inning, taking advantage of some control issues by PCD starter Jeff Mazonis. After loading the bases with three walks, Mazonis got the next batter swinging before Michael Naegele’s two-run single to center scored LaCoe and Zach Brister for an early, 2-0 lead after one inning.

That’s when Abington manager Chris Vida made the interesting decision to pull starter Ryan Nealon after just 20 pitches as the youngster was cruising through the PCD lineup.

If there is a positive, he has both Nealon and Gavin Walsh eligible for today should he needed them as Vida pulled each of the boys before the 20-pitch limit.

“There are three games to be played, so we wanted to hold Ryan back,” Vida said. “Our team is a bunch of hitters, top to bottom. We had confidence that they were going to keep scoring runs for us.”

That’s when the District 16 champs struck.

A single by Lou Lussi and an error on Nic Borgia’s fielder’s choice put two on in the top half of the third. Silvio Giardina’s sacrifice fly to center cut the lead to 2-1, and Mickey O’Malley followed one pitch later, driving a game-tying double to left. O’Malley later scored on a passed ball to give Pittston City/Duryea its first lead, 3-2.

“Our kids were a little rattled, so we told them to relax. I told them the score was 0-0 and to keep playing hard,” Vida said. “Now, we will see how the delay plays out. I know they want to play baseball, so we will see what tomorrow brings.”

PCD almost escaped the bottom of the third jam — bases loaded and only one out — but the error on a ball popped up by Gavin Walsh scored two and gave Abington National the 4-3 lead right before the game went into suspension.

Contact the writer: sports@citizensvoice.com

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