PHOTO: J.J. Hood pitched a shutout for Wyoming Area. (Zachary Allen Photo)
By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
WEST PITTSTON – Wyoming Area turned its first District 2 baseball championship game appearance into a celebration.
The Warriors combined two big innings with a J.J. Hood shutout to finish off visiting Honesdale, 11-0, in five innings during Thursday’s District 2 Class 4A final at Atlas Field.
“We had a tough start to everything,” East Tennessee State-committed junior catcher Jake Kelleher said of a team that was just 6-6 before starting the five-game winning streak that carried it to the title. “Toward the end of the year, everyone found their roles; we became one complete team; we started winning some games and it all bundled up to this.”
Hood threw a five-hitter with a walk and five strikeouts.
Jason Wiedl drove in three runs with two hits. Johnny Morgan, who drove in two runs, and Hunter Lawall each had two hits and scored twice. Jack Mathis doubled in two runs.
The game turned quickly.
After being scoreless through 2½ innings, the Warriors went to the fifth knowing they could end it early on the 10-run rule.
They got there by scoring five times in the third inning, then six more in the fourth when the first seven batters reached base.
“It’s a big day for me personally, as a coach, being the first champions in school history,” Warriors coach Rob Lemoncelli said, “but, more importantly, every one of those kids deserves the credit.
“They put the work in, day in, day out. They went through the good times and the bad times.”
Hood retired the last five batters he faced coming in just under the pitch count needed to keep the University of Connecticut-committed junior eligible Monday when Wyoming Area makes its state tournament debut against District 4 champion Midd-West (16-5) at Bowman Field in Williamsport at 6:30.
“He’s unreal,” Kelleher said. “Every game he comes out, you know he’s going to compete.”
Honesdale, which upset top-seeded Dallas, 3-2, in the semifinals, struggled on the mound with nine walks and four wild pitches in four innings.
“We still stay aggressive,” said Wiedl, who followed the Mathis double with a two-run single that pushed the margin past 10. “Don’t help him out; don’t swing at junk, but when they put one over the plate, you’ve got to take your opportunity and drive one.”
The Warriors did just that with nine hits, eight RBI and seven runs scored from the fifth through ninth spots in the order.
“When we really started our run here with the ‘Paupack game, it’s been the bottom half of the order that’s making us go,” Lemoncelli said. “When the top half of the order, the big hitters, when maybe they don’t get a hit or maybe they don’t have a quality at-bat, the bottom of the order has been there to pick us up over the past two-to-three weeks.”
Wiedl, the ninth hitter, was the biggest example.
“I thought we strung together a lot of big hits; a lot of big hits in big spots,” the senior shortstop said. “A lot of timely hits.
“It was just a good overall game.”
Paul Meagher had two hits from the leadoff spot for Honesdale.
Photo Gallery: Zachary Allen’s shots from Wyoming Area-Honesdale championship game. https://nepasportsnation.com/wyoming-area-honesdale-baseball-photo-gallery/.