Elk Lake holds off Lackawanna Trail in District 2 Class A baseball playoffs

By Robert Tomkavage - rtomkavage@timesleader.com | May 24th, 2016 3:29 pm

FACTORYVILLE — Lackawanna Trail faced a six-run deficit twice in the final two innings.

Both times, the Lions responded with three runs, but some early mistakes prevented them from completing a comeback.

Elk Lake scored runs in each of the first four innings and held off Lackawanna Trail, 11-8, in the quarterfinals of the District 2 Class A baseball playoffs Monday, May 23.

Center fielder Blake Chew drove in second baseman Brandon Traver, who singled to lead off the game, to give the Elk Lake a 1-0 advantage in the top of the first inning.

Elk Lake (6-9) took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning when Warriors designated hitter Joe McAleer walked and scored on a throwing error.

Lackawanna Trail (5-10) tied the game, 2-2, in the bottom of the inning. Shortstop Nathan Rolka walked and scored on a throwing error and second baseman Noah Coleman singled and scored on a base hit from pitcher DJ Klinges.

The Warriors scored three runs in the top of the third inning to regain the lead. Pitcher Zach Groover singled and scored on a hit from catcher Jack Waldenberger. Chew also drove in a run and scored on a wild pitch.

The Lions had a big opportunity to cut into the deficit in the bottom of the inning, but a strikeout and baserunning blunder prevented Trail from scoring any runs.

After center fielder Thomas Huffsmith grounded out to start the inning, Tyler Baltrusaitis and third baseman Nick Rolka walked and Nathan Rolka was hit by a pitch to load the bases. The next batter, catcher Thomas Vokes, stuck out and Baltrusaitis was tagged out while attempting to steal home.

“It was a big play and momentum shift for them,” Lackawanna Trail head coach Todd Peters said.

Elk Lake added to its lead in the top of the fourth on a sacrifice fly from third baseman Caleb Ely, scoring Traver who singled, stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball.

The Warriors stretched their advantage to 8-2 in the top of the sixth when Groover singled to drive in right fielder Griffin Arnold and Traver.

Lackawanna Trail mounted a rally in the bottom of the inning, sparked by a double from Nick Rolka off the glove of Chew in deep center field. Coleman walked with the bases loaded to drive in a run and scored on a wild pitch before Klinges knocked in his second run of the game on a groundout.

Elk Lake added three runs in the top of the seventh when McAleer and Traver each drove in a run and shortstop Kevin Valvano scored on a fielder’s choice.

The Lions loaded the bases to start the bottom of the inning after Huffsmith singled and Baltrusaitis and Nick Rolka were hit by a pitch. The next batter, Nathan Rolka, drove in two runs but was tagged out at first after overrunning the base. Coleman knocked in another run with a single to cut Trail’s deficit to three runs, but Lions first baseman Shawn Jones grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the game.

“They went down fighting and that was one thing we talked about going into the last inning,” Peters said. “I think they came out and showed they weren’t going to give up, but it’s hard to come back from so many mistakes in a playoff game.”


By Robert Tomkavage


Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.