Around the Horn: Busy start for WVC teams continues

Steve Bennett, The Citizens' Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
·4 min read

Apr. 12—The first week of the regular season is in the books. Teams are still attempting to get in as many non-conference games as possible. And that is a good thing, because that's what this year's spring season is supposed to be about.

Get the student-athletes who missed all of last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic on the field. And, so far, so good. Sure, there have been teams that have had to shut down due to COVID concerns but this week, fingers crossed, the Wyoming Valley Conference will have a full slate of games played.

So, here's a look at what the first week of the 2021 high school baseball season looked like:

Back in actionAfter dealing with a COVID-19 concern, the Valley West baseball team returned to practice on Sunday and will get to return to game action Tuesday at Berwick. Not the easiest of opponents for the Spartans to return to action against.

Especially since Valley West's most experienced pitcher, Rich Kolesar, has not pitched in a game since throwing two innings on March 27 in a win over Delaware Valley.

Milestone winIt took a little longer than anticipated, and it was certainly out of their control, but the Wilkes-Barre Area Wolfpack picked up their first official Wyoming Valley Conference win on Thursday when they defeated Tunkhannock.

Obviously, last year's team didn't get the chance to play an official conference game, but the Wolfpack are off to a 3-3 start this year.

"It was nice to get the first conference win as a program," said Wilkes-Barre Area manager Matt Skrepenak. "Last year's team, after 13 days, I thought we would be competitive. It is nice to do after the layoff from last year."

Moving inOff to a 4-0 start, Holy Redeemer was able to move into the top spot in the Class 3A district playoff ratings. The Royals are coming off a 12-11 win over Valley View. Holy Redeemer leads Lake-Lehman and Nanticoke Area in the power ratings.

The Royals will be tested today when they head to Nanticoke Area to take on the 4-1 Trojans in what is obviously going to be a series of marquee matchups within the division.

Catching upSo far through the first few weeks of the season, the hitting seems to be ahead of the pitching in the WVC.

As a whole, the WVC is batting .278. There have been 77 doubles, 14 triples and 26 home runs.

As far as pitching, the overall ERA of teams in the WVC is 4.66. Pitchers have struck out 486 batters and issued 275 walks in a total of 380 innings. Of the 337 runs allowed, 253 are earned.

Leading the way

The most games played by any team within District 2 so far has been six. Valley View is 4-2 and Dallas is 3-3. As we head to the second week of the regular season, three teams from the WVC are leading the power rating system.

MMI Prep in Class A, Holy Redeemer in 3A and Hazleton Area in 6A are currently the top seeds. MMI Prep plays Lincoln Leadership Academy, Wyoming Seminary and Shenandoah Valley this week. Holy Redeemer is at Nanticoke Area today, and then plays Wyoming Area and North Schuylkill to close out the week. Hazleton Area plays at Emmaus today, at Tunkhannock, home with Valley West and then at St. Joe's Prep.

Power surge

Through six games, Zach Luksic of Dallas leads the WVC in home runs with four. Nanticoke Area's Nick Matson and Dallas teammate Chris Killian are right behind with three.

Matson leads the way in RBIs with 13. Killian is second with 10, while Luksic and Nick Finarelli of Lake-Lehman both have eight.

Ryan Collins and Cooper Lewis, both of Dallas, lead the way with four doubles, while 14 players have smacked at least one triple.

On the mound

Six pitchers in the conference have already posted two wins. Marcus Danchision, Ryan Novakowski, Killian, Kevin McNulty, Finarelli and Zac Williamson are the wins leaders.

Killian leads the WVC in strikeouts with 26, followed by Danchision from MMI Prep with 24. Though he has only pitched 71/3 innings this year, Lake-Lehman's Ty Federici, an LSU verbal commit, has yet to give up an earned run.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

It was announced earlier this week the District 2 baseball championships will not be played at PNC Field.

Due to changes within the minor league system, and COVID-related obstacles, the finals will need to find a new home.

Whether that is a local college facility or at the home of the higher seed remains to be seen. But hopefully, PNC Field will be able to find a way to squeeze in the Field of Dreams game between seniors from the WVC and Lackawanna League. It's a game that all seniors are looking forward to being able to participate in.

Contact the writer: sbennett@citizensvoice.com; 570-821-2062; @CVSteveBennett on Twitter