The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

AAABA

August 11, 2013

Triumphant Delweld heads to title game

JOHNSTOWN — Josh Staniscia has produced plenty of big hits with the game on the line this AAABA season.

That comes along with being the local league MVP.

The Delweld center fielder didn’t have a tape-measure homer or blistering line drive in the bottom of the 10th inning on Saturday night at Point Stadium.

No one among a crowd estimated at 3,000 was complaining after Staniscia watched six straight pitches to draw a bases-loaded, walk-off walk in a 7-6, extra-inning victory over Cleveland Chardon Blizzard.

Delweld is walking all the way into this afternoon’s title game in the 69th AAABA Tournament.

“I was just looking for something I could drive to the outfield,” said Staniscia, who worked a 3-0 count before Cleveland reliever Joe Perretta threw two strikes. “The first three pitches he was all over the place. I was taking until I got two strikes – make him throw another strike. I was looking for a 3-2 pitch down the middle that I could drive to the outfield. He left it out there and I took it.”

The win puts Delweld (5-0) into the championship game at noon today against Baltimore

(4-1) at the Point.

Manager Chris DelSignore’s team is the first Johnstown squad to win five straight games since Galliker Dairy in 2001. This will be Johnstown’s sixth appearance in the AAABA Tournament championship round.

Baltimore has won a tournament record 28 titles and will make its 35th appearance in the final. Delweld edged Youse’s Maryland Orioles

7-5 in Friday night’s battle of unbeatens.

“We expect it to be a dogfight,” DelSignore said. “That’s what we’re going to prepare for. Other than that, it’s just another game.”

If a second game is necessary, it will be played about 30 minutes after the first game.

Delweld fell behind 5-1 after Cleveland collected five hits and four runs in the fourth, an inning highlighted by Anthony Tomasone’s two-run double and run-scoring singles by Adam Urbania and Don Belliveau.

DelSignore called on left-handed pick-up player Nate Spohn to relieve starter Marcus Shippey, the Game 1 starter.

“Marcus Shippey battled,” DelSignore said. “He did a good job for us. We went with Nate, and he battled and kept us in the game. We were able to chip away and come out on top.”

Spohn had started and thrown 38 pitches in Friday’s game against Chicago Metro before exiting.

A seasoned veteran, Spohn was the opening night starter for the Berkley Hills Renegades in 2012 and won the Point Stadium Award last year.

“It was the same thing as a start,” said Spohn, who allowed only three hits and one run in

6 1⁄3 innings.

“I don’t really come out of the pen. It was the same thing for me, though, go to the bullpen, get ready, throw strikes. Do my job.”

Spohn retired the side in order three times and faced the minimum another inning thanks to a 4-6-3 double play.

“We didn’t score enough runs, obviously,” said Cleveland manager Don Navatsyk, a South Fork native whose club finished 4-2 a year after earning the tournament runner-up honors.

“We hit balls hard, deep. We thought they were in gaps. They were playing us right. They were playing us deep.

“Spohn is a strike thrower,” he added. “You’ve got to attack him. You’ve got to hit the ball. The balls we hit hard from the fifth inning on just couldn’t find gaps.”

Pick-up right fielder Nate Campbell continued to have a hot bat and solid glove for Delweld.

Campbell went 3-for-5 with three runs scored. His tournament average is .560 with 14 hits.

“This is a group that I had to play against all year and I didn’t have a whole lot of fun doing it,” said Campbell, another Renegades pick-up.

“It’s a lot more fun being on their side in this tournament. The support of the city is unbelievable. Unlike anything I’ve seen in my life.”

Delweld trailed 6-4 in the bottom of the seventh when Campbell and Staniscia each singled. Staniscia stole second with one out.

Cleveland intentionally walked slugger Luke Campbell to get to Matt Martin, who was hitless in three at-bats with two strikeouts.

Martin stroked a two-run single to right field, tying the game.

“Matt thrives on those situations,” DelSignore said. “What can you say? Two strikes. He smokes that ball and scores  two runs. That was the catalyst we needed. We took it and were able to run with it.”

The hit created a stir in another way.

On his way to first base, Martin got the attention of the Cleveland dugout and according to Navatsyk had a few choice words.

Navatsyk went onto the field and had words in the direction of Martin and first base coach Dan DelSignore.

The incident carried over into the postgame, when Navatsyk said he didn’t want his players to shake hands with Delweld’s players.

One of the Blizzard players led his team in the handshake.

“I’m sorry that my guys went up there and shook their hands,” said Navatsyk, who provided graphic details of language and actions he said were made against his team.

“If one of my kids ever did that his (butt) would be on the bench and never get off,” he said in a taped interview.

“The AAABA gives us this big lecture about no swearing. No foul language. You do this, you do that, you’re gone. ...Everybody hears it. They don’t toss the guy. And AAABA is going to lecture us for an hour and tell us about swearing and chewing and all this stuff. It’s baloney. I’m sorry my guys went up and shook their hands.”

Delweld’s mental approach the rest of the way was firm. The host team didn’t let the incident affect its play and capitalized in a pressure-cooker 10th.

Pinch-hitter Ben Legath led off with a single and was credited with a steal on a pitch that Delweld’s Eric Weyant thought hit him.

After a discussion, the umpires sent Weyant back to the plate and he later walked. Nate Campbell’s sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third.

An intentional walk to Ian Helsel set  up Staniscia’s at-bat.

“Ben started us off with a hit in a big pinch-hit situation,” Chris DelSignore said.

“When we get the lead-off guy on we like our chances of scoring. We got a fortuitous pitch that could have hit him or not and we got the stolen base on it. Eric got the walk. Soup (Campbell) laid down a great bunt. We knew if we were able to move those guys over they were going to walk Ian. We’ll take Josh Staniscia in that situation with the bases loaded any day of the week.”

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