A quick look at the district quarterfinal rounds
Moving on: Class AAAA — (2) Hazleton Area, (3) Scranton, (5) Wallenpaupack. (1) Wyoming Valley West had a first-round bye. Class AAA — (1) Wyoming Area, (2) North Pocono, (3) Abington Heights, (4) Valley View. Class AA — (1) Montrose, (2) Hanover Area, (3) Mid Valley, (5) Nanticoke. Class A — (2) Forest City, (3) MMI Prep, (4) Blue Ridge. (1) Lackawanna Trail had a first-round bye.
Upsets: Class AAAA — (5) Wallenpaupack over (4) Delaware Valley, 4-2. Class AA — (5) Nanticoke over (4) Lakeland, 6-3.
How did the Lackawanna League do? The league has three of the remaining four spots in the Class AAA and Class A brackets. It is assured of at least one finalist in each, and an all-Lackawanna League final is still a possibility. The league has two of the four spots in Class AAAA and Class AA. All-Lackawanna League finals are possible in each, but there’s also the chance the league gets shut out of the final spots.
Have yourself a day:
- Class AAAA — Wallenpaupack’s Aaron Husson: The sophomore starting pitcher tossed a complete game in the No. 5 Buckhorns’ slight upset of fourth-seeded Delaware Valley. He allowed just three hits, walked one and struck out nine against the Warriors, who scored a Lackawanna League Division II best 85 runs. Husson’s stats in three appearances against DV this season: 11.1 innings, 5 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 13 Ks. Other nominations: Scranton’s Colin Maldonato (3 for 4, with a double and three RBIs in first game action in four weeks) and Cody Miller (Complete-game win over West Scranton, with one earned run, no walks and six strikeouts).
Class AAA — Valley View’s Max Kranick: The junior righty allowed just one run on four hits in a complete game win over Berwick. He struck out eight and walked one. After a Berwick double that scored a run in the third inning, Kranick would retire 11 of the final 15 batters of the game. The four the reached? A single, two errors and a fielder’s choice. He retired the last seven in a row. Kranick also had two hits — a booming double that led off the game and a line drive single up the middle. Other nominations: North Pocono’s Mark Cicerini (2 for 3, with a triple and three RBIs in his team’s win over Dallas) and Abington Heights’ Zach Manasek (Complete-game win over Pittston Area, with one earned runs, two walks and five strikeouts).
- Class AA — Mid Valley’s Zach Nemitz: This was a close one, but let’s go with the guy who scored the game-winning run. Nemitz went 4 for 4 with a double and two RBIs in the Spartans’ come-from-behind win over Dunmore (Side note: This was quite a tournament for the 11th-seeded Bucks, who pummeled sixth-seeded Northwest Area in the first round, and pushed third-seeded Mid Valley to the brink). Nemitz scored on a suicide squeeze by Jake Donlin with one out in the seventh. He also picked up the win, allowing two earned runs over seven innings, while striking out five and walking one. The Spartans are two wins away from their first district championship since 1980 (which is also the only one in the school’s history). Other nominations: Montrose’s Matt Benninger. The Meteors starter pitched a three-hitter with eight strikeouts and two walks in a complete-game shutout of Holy Cross.
- Class A — Blue Ridge’s Derek Stento, Tre Hillard and Jake Decker: The trio combined to allow three earned runs in a 6-4 win over Old Forge, with only two walks and seven strikeouts. Blue Ridge was in the District 2 Class A final last year, and it is a win away from returning.
- Class A — (4) Blue Ridge at (1) Lackawanna Trail … Teams split the season series, 1-1, but Lackawanna Trail scored more runs (13-6). The teams won with their respective aces on the mound: Decker for Blue Ridge (7 innings, 5 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, 10 Ks in a 4-3 win May 8) and Cooper Rosiak for Trail (5.1 innings, 8 hits, 3 earned runs, 1 walk, 9 Ks in a 9-3 win April 17). … (3) MMI Prep at (2) Forest City … MMI is the defending District 2 champion. The only common opponent between the two is Susquehanna. MMI beat the Sabers, 9-5, in the first round Monday. Forest City swept the season series against Susquehanna, 8-6 and 10-5.
- Class AAAA — (3) Scranton and (2) Hazleton Area … Hazleton Area is the defending district champion. The Cougars beat Williamsport, 2-0, in the first round, and needed innings from both of their lefty aces, Joey Baran, who started and went five innings, and Dante Biasi, who went two innings. Both are very talented, and could match up well against the Knights. … (5) Wallenpaupack at (1) Wyoming Valley West … Valley West had a bye in the first round and the Buckhorns are coming off a big win over Delaware Valley, so momentum could play a role. Wallenpaupack has a negative run differential for the season (-8) so it’ll have to rely on its pitching to hold back the Spartans.
Run ends: The first of the defending district champions was eliminated Tuesday, when Nanticoke beat Lakeland in Class AA. The Chiefs were two-time defending champs.