The Back Mountain senior team stumbled out of the blocks, but the junior team raced out to a fast start in the first two weeks of the Wyoming Valley American Legion baseball season.
While the senior team lost its first four games, the junior team won its first four before losing Tuesday night to take a 4-1 record into Thursday night’s action.
Leo Orlandini is the manager of the senior team, which plays at Misericordia University. Anton Kachur leads the junior team, which has home games at Dallas High School.
A lack of pitchers who threw much for their high school teams during the spring has contributed to the slow start by the senior team, according to Orlandini.
The team was in tight games until late in losses to Tunkhannock (8-4) and Mountain Post (11-2). It also fell to Wilkes-Barre (14-4) and Nanticoke (10-0).
J.D. Barret, Josh Orlandini and Josh Lydon have had multiple-hit games so far this season.
Orlandini, an outfielder, is one of seven players that return for the senior squad from last year. All are Dallas High School players.
The others are catcher/outfielder Christian Wargo, second baseman/outfielder Jon Sabatini, first baseman Tim Elston, and pitchers Chad Phillips, Jackson Shaver and Jimmy Oschal.
The junior team’s fast start has been highlighted by Justin Finarelli’s no-hitter and three wins by two runs or less, including a pair of comebacks.
Finarelli struck out eight and had hits in the middle of both scoring innings June 3 when Back Mountain defeated Swoyersville, 6-0.
Centerfielder Sam Nocito charged a ball and threw to Mark Roginski at first for an out in the seventh inning to preserve the no-hitter.
Darren Kerdesky led off the four-run second with a triple and joined Finarelli in producing RBI hits in the two-run third.
Justin James, who drove in two runs, and Nick Kachur, who drove in one, had doubles in the second.
The junior team reached 4-0 the next day when it rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh before winning, 9-8, in eight over Greater Pittston on Kerdesky’s inside-the-park home run.
Earlier, the team had defeated Stripes and Strikes from Hazleton, 4-2, and Nanticoke, 14-13.
Ian Evans and Jake Connolly, who got the win, pitched against Stripes and Strikes. Justin James doubled and scored.
Back Mountain rallied from a 10-1 deficit against Nanticoke with C.J. Cercone providing three hits and three runs while Finarelli was going 2-for-3 with a double and four RBI.
Kerdesky retired the last five Nanticoke batters in relief to earn the pitching win and also drove in the winning run with a bases-loaded walk.
Justin James had a single and double while scoring three times. Lucas McGeehan also scored three runs.
“Both the 14-year-olds and the 15-year-olds have all been playing together for a long time,” Kachur said. “The 14-year-olds on the Back Mountain American all-stars side when they were in Little League all-stars had a lot of success.
“It’s just a really good group of players as well as being great young men. They work hard, they hustle and, obviously, they have a lot of fight in them with those two comebacks.”
The winning streak ended June 7 in a 4-1 loss to Mountain Post.
Freddie Lombardo went 2-for-3 and scored the only run. Finarelli and Patrick Zarola had the other Back Mountain hits.
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