Back Mountain used a balanced attack to average nine runs per game during the Prep American Legion Baseball season.
With a state tournament berth on the line, Back Mountain doubled that production.
Zach Holthaus and Kyle Sincavage drove in three runs each July 22 when Back Mountain defeated visiting Abington, 18-8, in the third and deciding game of a playoff series between the two northeastern Pennsylvania champions in order to reach the state tournament, which was scheduled to start July 30.
The Pennsylvania Prep American Legion Baseball tournament is an eight-team, double-elimination event being held at the Spring City Legion field in Royersford, a Philadelphia suburb.
Back Mountain went 10-1 to win the Wyoming Valley League, suffering its only loss by one run against Nanticoke. The league also included Mountaintop and Hazleton.
Abington was the Lackawanna League champion.
Back Mountain won both of its home games in the playoff series, starting with a 5-2 win before falling on the road, 8-6.
“The whole team has been hitting the ball pretty well,” Back Mountain manager Mike Ropietski said.
Max Paczewski doubled while Aidan Conrad had a single and two RBI to back winning pitcher Luke Spencer in the opening win.
Holthaus was 3-for-3 and Sincavage had a double in the deciding game to help them drive in the three runs each.
Nick Gashi hit a two-run homer. Spencer had a double and an RBI while Connor Morgan and Michael Ropietski each had RBI singles.
Ty Harden was the winning pitcher.
Harden, Gashi and Mike Rother handled the team’s starting pitching duties.
“The three of them did a fantastic job,” Mike Ropietski said. “We didn’t start Luke Spencer, but he’s really been our go-to guy in the middle innings.
“He’s really been throwing well, along with Max Paczewski.”
Prep Legion is for 13-year-olds, many of whom are making the move to 90-foot bases, the full-sized regulation field and its related rules for the first time.
During league play, Prep Legion uses an “extra hitter,” rather than a designated hitter, batting 10.
Conrad has performed very well in that role, but with a switch to a nine-man batting order for the state tournament, Ropietski will be forced into some lineup adjustments.
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