North Pocono captures its second District Two diamond crown in the past three years
A little over a year ago, Cory Wall stood on the field desperately fighting back the emotion of just being beaten by Crestwood in the District Two quarterfinals.
The 4-2 loss meant that North Pocono, then the reigning 3A champion, would not have a chance to claim a championship in the new class.
On Sunday, May 27 all that went away when Wall fanned Abington's Anthony Kovalchik on a full count to give the Trojans a 4-2 win.
With it, came North Pocono's second district title in three seasons.
Thanks to an 11-1 Lackawanna League tally, North Pocono earned a bye in the quarterfinals of this year's tournament.
That meant the Trojans only had to contend with the reigning 5A champs, Wallenpaupack Area, in the 2018 semifinals, played May 23 at the University of Scranton.
There, the Trojans got on the board in the second when Kyle Bosley singled to score Zach Walsh. Bosley then came home on a double by Ben Cruciani.
The local lads increased their advantage to 3-0 later in the inning when Shane Lamparter, running for catcher Jake Mastillo, scored on a passed ball.
Ryan Deom tripled to lead off the bottom of the third and then scored on a single by Wall. Mastillo then grounded into a fielder’s choice to plate Zach Walsh.
The Trojans added two more when Jake Millan doubled to bring home Lamparter and Cruciani, opening the gap to 7-0.
Although Paupack sneaked in a pair of runs in the top of the fourth, in the bottom of the frame Bosley hit again to drive in Walsh once more.
NP would add to the 8-2 lead in the bottom of sixth when Mastillo would double to bring in Bosley.
Even though the Bucks posted a pair of triples to help drive in three runs, the Trojans were able to fend them off and earned the 9-5 decision.
Wall, Lamparter, and Nate McLain each took a turn on the mound .
“That win felt great,” said Wall. “We put up four runs in one inning and just kept that momentum going, carrying it over to face Crestwood.”
With a 9-4 record in WVC action, Crestwood earned the second seed.
However, the Comets still had to deal with Coughlin in the quarterfinals and then Valley West in the semis.
Crestwood easily handled the Crusaders, 17-2, then powered past the Spartans 10-4. For the kids from Mountaintop, it would be the second season in a row they came to PNC Field looking for a title and the second straight season they left with silver medals.
North Pocono skipper Brian Jardine sent Deom to the hill as his starter.
The junior went seven strong as a freshman in the 2016 finals before having to yield when the game ran into extra innings, ultimately ending in a 1-0 shutout victory.
Both clubs had a hard time getting around the bags for the first three innings in this one.
Crestwood stayed dry in the top of the fourth but then North Pocono finally broke the stalemate. Dan Walsh was hit by a pitch, then swiped second and scampered home courtesy of a Deom RBI single.
The lead didn’t last long as the Comets tied it 1-1 in the top of the fifth.
However, before the inning was in the books, a Bosley single sent Zach Walsh across the plate.
Crestwood made it 2-2 in the sixth but that would be all from the Comets for the rest of the night
Nate McLain had already reached second base once before that night, in the previous inning thanks to an error.
With Deom on third and Wall on first, McLain came to plate once more. He liked the first pitch, swung, and smoked it to the wall in right field.
As Nate legged out a stand-up double, Deom and Wall scored to give North Pocono the 4-2 lead, which held through the next half-inning.
“I felt we had a great chance to win coming in, we just had to play our cards right,” McLain said.
“I knew we had a chance with two on and I just wanted to drive them in.”
Deom went five innings, sending down two on strikes while giving up four walks, a run, and two hits.
Wall, in relief, struck out five while allowing a pair of hits and a lone run.
More to Come
“We knew Crestwood was a good team,” Coach Jardine said.
“This was their senior group and they came here to battle, no doubt about it. They played well but we kept it to within one run and then Nate came up big with that double and brought in two runs.”
The Trojans now head to the PIAA state tournament.
Many of these players have been down that road before, which bodes well for North Pocono.
In 2016, NP made it all the way to the AAA final four, losing in a state semifinal to Susquehanna Township. Now a 5A club, the Trojans will be challenged even more.
The first round is set for Monday, June 4 and they will take on the fourth-place team out of District 1, either Wissahickon or West Chester Rustin.
“Last year left a sour taste in our mouth,” said Deom. “We knew what to expect from Crestwood. We didn’t lose a lot of guys, they didn’t lose a lot of guys so this was matching up a lot like last year. Now we get to move on.”