Back Mountain National recovered from a rough start – and from later being down to its final out – to win the Section 5 Junior Little League Baseball tournament.
BMN swept Dunmore, 8-6 and 18-8, July 23 at Dallas High School when it needed to win the two games in a row in order to pull out the section title and advance to the state tournament.
Dunmore had routed BMN, 15-5, in the second game of the tournament, forcing BMN to fight its way back while playing five times in four days.
BMN put together a three-game winning streak with its season on the line. It earned a championship game shot by pounding Pittston, 15-2, in five innings in an elimination game.
Lucas McGeehan had a homer and double while Todd Phillips added a triple and single in the win.
Frank Nockley had a single, double and two RBI. Joe Walser also had two hits and two RBI while Sam Nocito had a two-run double.
Cooper Kelley was the winning pitcher.
“At that point, our pitching was really low from the night before,” BMN manager Eric Williams said. “Cooper Kelley came up very big for us in the Pittston game.”
Kelley threw a four-hitter with four strikeouts.
“That was big because he allowed us to rest the other pitchers,” Williams said.
BMN let a three-run lead get away early in the first rematch with Dunmore, which scored four times in the bottom of the fifth for a 5-4 lead.
Dunmore got the first two outs in the top of the seventh before Dunmore rallied.
Phillips worked out a two-out walk and McGeehan reached on an error to start a rally.
Kyle Sincavage was down to his final strike before also drawing a walk to load the bases.
Jake Connolly’s three-run double proved to be the game-winner. Nocito doubled in Connolly to complete the four-run seventh.
Dunmore’s first three batters reached in the bottom of the inning on two hits and an error to cut the BMN lead to two runs and bring the go-ahead run to the plate.
Alex Magdalinski got out of the jam for the win. He worked the final two innings after Phillips reached his 95-pitch limit.
Nocito had two hits and drove in two runs.
Phillips also had an RBI.
Back Mountain scored seven runs in the first then six in the bottom of the sixth to clinch the championship game on the 10-run rule.
“There were a lot of walks on their end,” Williams said. “Our guys were very patient in taking what their pitchers were giving us.”
Sincavage had two hits and drove in three runs in the deciding game.
Magdalinski had a single and double.
Andrew Martin drove in two runs while Phillips and Nockley scored three times each.
When the teams met the first time, Fred Lombardo and Zack Holthaus each had two-run doubles in the loss.
Jack Lukasavage added a hit.
When BMN came back to take the title it advanced to the state tournament, which began Wednesday in Cranberry. The tournament is an eight-team, double-elimination event.
Rother, Sincavage and Holthaus were all with the team for the start of the tournament. By the end of the week, the state Prep American Legion Tournament was set to begin across the state, leaving each with decisions to make if the Junior Little League team advances because they are on Back Mountain teams in both events.
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