North Pocono squad still battling for a playoff spot

American Legion baseball is a fickle friend.

What can be a bad season one year can be a good season the next.

For Post 579’s senior team, it’s been a mixture of both. With much of the roster comprised of North Pocono High School veterans, the team was poised to do well, and for the most part, did.

However, with one game left before the playoffs, found themselves fighting for a coveted spot in the post-season schedule.

“It can be tough to get us all here at the same time,” said Cory Wall.

“A lot of us play on travel teams, other kids have work, or they're on vacation. Overall we’ve done pretty well.”

Ups & Downs

Moscow got off to a good start by posting wins in their initial trio of outings.

Facing the upstart Dingman’s Ferry club on June 1, the Cows issued a 16-0 shutout. On the 5th, they battled to a 3-2 win against Dunmore. The following evening, versus West Scranton, they carved out a 4-0 victory.

A 9-4 loss to Abington broke the streak on June 8, but Post 579 went on to defeat Tri-boro, 7-1, on June 12.

Then a rough patch brought three straight losses. The first came when they were bested 8-1 by a very strong Dickson City team on June 13.

Two days later they took a 14-8 hit from Montrose.

A few days off didn’t help the Moscow cause either. On June 23 they were pelted, 7-3, by South Scranton.

Another face-off with the struggling team from Dingman’s gave Moscow a 23-0 win on June 24 and then they fended off Green Ridge, 2-1, on June 26.

The next night the Cows came from behind to hand Carbondale/Lakeland a 3-2 defeat. Sadly, for the Post 579 gents, that would be the last victory of the season.

“That was one of our best games,” said Ryan Deom.

“Pat Kravitz, who hasn’t pitched much all year, came in to close and threw four shutout innings.”

Final Push

A 7-5 loss to Dickson City on June 29 put Moscow into a tight race for a shot at the playoffs.

Sitting in third place with a 7-5 record, they went into the game on July 2 against the fourth-place squad from Carbondale/Lakeland, who had a 6-5 tally.

Moscow’s 10-3 loss caused the two clubs to swap spots in the standings, putting Post 579 into fourth in the Sabastianelli Division and seemingly, out of the running for the District title.

However, Carbondale-Lakeland still had two more game to complete.

They suffered a loss to South Scranton and another to Green Ridge, taking their tally to 7-7 and pushing Moscow back into contention.

Only the top three advance to the playoffs and the top two slots in the division are locked up by Dickson City and Abington.

Things could flip-flop again. A loss to Abington on July 5 would put Moscow at 7-7, tied with Carbondale/Lakeland.

An even percentage between the two teams would force the tiebreaking scenario of looking at runs against for each club.

In that case, the playoff berth would go to Carbondale/Lakeland. They have 48 runs scored against them whereas Moscow already has 54.

Coach Mike Kowalski knew following Moscow’s bout with Green Ridge that the Cows were in for a fight to make the playoffs.

Given the outcome of that as well as the comeback against Carbondale/ Lakeland during their first meet-up, he had every reason to believe his players had a chance.

“The kids get pulled in a lot of directions this time of year, but we always seem to be able to piece it together, come out ready to play, and have fun at the same time,” the skipper said.

Looking Ahead

A shot at the district title would be great, but even if a post-season run isn’t in the cards for Post 579, baseball season is far for over for players such as Deom and Wall.

Both suit up for more duty with the Northeast Heat travel team. When summer ball wraps up, the two will start focusing on the next season with the Trojans.

“This year, our high school season was a little disappointing,” noted Deom. “But, we have some good kids coming up and a strong senior class.”

As a development program for North Pocono, many of next year’s positions are being occupied by the Legion players filling the roles they’ll be in next spring.

“We’re getting used to what it’s going to be like next year,” said Wall.

“We’re all looking forward to next year’s school season.”