By Rob Potter
NARROWSBURG July 14, 2006 Runs were at a premium on Tuesday night when the Honesdale (Pa.) Eagles faced the Narrowsburg Chiefs in the opener of the best-of-three game Wayne County (Pa.) Teeners League championship series.
Unfortunately for the Chiefs and their enthusiastic fans many of whom painted their faces in the team colors of blue and white the Eagles were able to score one more run during the game, which was played at the old Narrowsburg Central School baseball field.
Honesdale scored once in the top of the first inning and added another run in the third to record a 3-2 victory and take a 1-0 lead in the series. Game 2 of the series was scheduled to be held last night at the Honesdale High School baseball field. If necessary, Game 3 would be played tomorrow at a neutral site, possibly at the Wallenpaupack High School baseball field in Hawley, Pa.
The Eagles wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard. The first batter of the game, Jake Schilling, singled to center field. He then went to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Brad Fasshauer. The next batter, Aaron Diamond, bunted and made his way to second base when the throw to force him out at first base was offline. Schilling was able to cross home plate on the error, giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
Narrowsburg tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the second. With one out, Greg MacArthur singled to center field. He then stole second base to put himself in scoring position. After Honesdale pitcher Scott Shaffer recorded a strikeout, Austin Sauer belted a double to deep right center field. MacArthur scored easily on the hit to even the score.
But Shaffer got a infield pop up to end the frame and prevent the Chiefs from taking the lead.
The Eagles scored what became the game-winning run with a two-out rally in the third. Schilling and Fasshauer hit consecutive singles to put runners at the corners. Diamond then hit a little dribbler in front of the plate and sprinted down the line to first base. As Diamond safely reached the base, Schilling crossed home plate.
In the meantime, Fasshauer got caught in a rundown between second base and third base. Chiefs third baseman Jeremy DeGori tagged out Fasshauer to end the inning.
But Narrowsburg could not muster any additional runs off of Shaffer in the bottom of the third or George Gutierrez, who pitched the final four innings for the Eagles.
Narrowsburg had two good opportunities to at least tie the game, however.
The Chiefs had runners on second and third with just one out in the third, but Schilling got out of the jam with a strikeout and a fly out.
Then in the bottom of the seventh, Mark Tesseyman led off with a double and advanced to third base on a groundout by MacArthur. But Gutierrez sandwiched a strikeout and a groundout around a walk to Sauer to preserve the Eagles one-run victory.
Despite taking the loss, Narrowsburg pitcher Brad Reimer turned in a good performance on the mound. He scattered nine hits, recorded six strikeouts and walked only one batter in going the distance.
The credit for the win goes to these players, Honesdale Manager Tom Schilling said. They started out 0 and 3, but kept improving as the season moved along.
The Eagles leader especially noted the progress of Gutierrez, who was born in Chile and moved to the United States with his parents several years ago.
Hes been with me since he began Little League at age 7, Schilling said. Back then he didnt even know what a baseball was. But hes a great player now.
Narrowsburg Manager Joe Curreri, who guides the Chiefs along with Coaches John Grishaber and Jim Kearns, had a simple explanation for the games outcome.
We made too many errors and we didnt hit the ball hard and force them to make the plays on defense, Curreri commented.
Narrowsburg was 13-3 during the regular season and finished second in the Wayne County Teeners League South Division. The Chiefs then defeated the Honesdale Stars, which placed first in the North Division, 5-3, in the semifinals to reach the championship series.