By Tom Robinson, NEPA Sports Nation.com
SCRANTON – Marcus Danchision received the distinction of an all-star starting pitching assignment.
Danchision was still in the batting order late in the game and wound up deciding the outcome then.
The MMI Prep graduate chopped a two-run double down the third-base line with two out in the bottom of the seventh inning of a nine-inning game, breaking a tie and lifting Luzerne over Lackawanna, 4-2, Thursday night.
The game opened the doubleheader of the Lackawanna vs. Luzerne Baseball and Softball Senior All-Star Games at Connell Park. The doubleheader, presented by 570 Sports Show LLC, featured recent graduates of Lackawanna League and Wyoming Valley Conference schools.
Danchision received his team’s Most Valuable Player award. He allowed one run on two hits in two innings on the mound, getting six outs on the last five batters he faced with the help of a double play and three strikeouts.
“It was fun to get that kind of recognition,” Danchision, the leader of MMI Prep’s District 2-12 Class A Subregional championship and first-ever state tournament victory, said of the starting assignment.
Valley View’s Ryan Cesarini, who singled and scored to lead off the game, was named MVP for Lackawanna. The starting center fielder finished 2-for-3.
Both game MVPs are committed to National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I programs. Danchision is headed to Lehigh and Cesarini to St. Joseph’s.
Lackawanna had tied the game, 2-2, but left two other runners in scoring position in the top of the seventh.
Danchision put Luzerne back on top in the bottom of the inning.
Ryan Stevens from Wyoming Valley West doubled to the fence with one out.
Lake-Lehman’s Connor Morgan was up next and reached on an error.
Following a strikeout, Danchision bounced ball over the third baseman’s head for the game-deciding hit.
“My whole goal as a hitter was always just to put the ball in play,” Danchision said. “When you put the ball in play, good things happen as you saw.”
Danchision and Stevens had two of the four doubles by Luzerne.
Todd Kolbicka from Hanover Area had the other two, driving in runs each time.
Leadoff walks led to courtesy runners scoring in both innings.
Connor Hummer from Hanover Area drew the walk in the third when Luzerne tied the game and Wyoming Seminary’s Gavin Flanley drew the walk in the fifth, leading to the go-ahead run.
Flanley, Pittston Area’s P.J. Pisano and Nanticoke’s Luke Myers also had hits for Luzerne.
Matt Sorick from Wyoming Area got the win, recovering to get the final two outs in the seventh, the only inning he pitched. Hazleton Area’s Matt Shamany struck out five while giving up two hits over the final two innings to protect the two-run lead and earn the save.
Hazleton Area’s Marcus LaBuda and Tunkhannock’s Shane Wood followed Danchision to the mound and each threw two scoreless innings.
LaBuda stranded three runners in scoring position, giving up three hits while striking out one.
Wood struck out five, including all three batters in the fifth inning, and retired six out of seven batters while not allowing a hit.
“When we step on the field, you could see that we took it serious, but in the dugout, it was the last game and for a lot of us the first time getting to play together,” Danchision said. “We were just having fun.”
Michael Show from Abington Heights joined Cesarini and Kolbicka as the players in the game with two hits.
Show singled through the left side with one out in the seventh to drive in high school teammate Scott Gilbert with the tying run.
Gilbert singled to center field with one out and took third on a double by Delaware Valley’s Cameron May.
Lackawanna had scored in the first inning when Cesarini singled through the left side and used his speed to get home from there.
Cesarini took second on a wild pitch.
When Riverside’s Michael Rickert singled on a dribbler in front of the plate, pulling catcher Flanley away from the plate to field it, Cesarini kept running on the late throw to first and came all the way in from second base.
Western Wayne’s Zane Janiszewski doubled for the other Lackawanna extra-base hit.
Delaware Valley’s Aiden Oliver and Scranton Prep’s Ethan Muha also had hits.
Gilbert started on the mound for Lackawanna and used six strikeouts to get through two scoreless innings, leaving the bases loaded both times.
North Pocono’s Damarco Maglio finished up with a scoreless inning.