Hornets win first ever D4 baseball title.

By: The Review | Towanda Daily Review | June 2, 2017 | Photo courtesy Sarah Wagaman


Hornets win first ever D4 baseball titleJohnny Rowland did it all for Wellsboro Thursday in their historic win against South Williamsport.

The junior was 3-for-4 at the plate with three run scores while also going the distance on the mound to give the Hornets a 5-2 victory for their first ever District IV, Class AA baseball title.

"It means a lot," Wellsboro coach Philip Prough said. "I'm a Wellsboro alum so it means a lot. A lot of good teams, a lot of good players, a lot of good coaches came long before this group. It's as much for them as it is us."

Prough believes the last few seasons have paved the way for the Hornets' title this year.

"Success breeds success," he explained. "We've had success the last several years, knocking on the door and we've always seemed to face Loyalsock or Montoursville, a powerhouse team that made us better. We're at that point now and we're going to look back."

After the game Prough had his team get a little memento.

"I did this years ago coaching some other teams that have won championships," he explained. "We're at a fantastic venue and I want to say thank you to Penn State for hosting the tournament. I didn't tell them until after we won. I told them yesterday to bring a sandwich baggie and I didn't tell them why. When you win a title you take a little bit of dirt from the field."

The veteran coach also had faith with Rowland when he gave him the ball.

"He's been our number one and he's kept improving," said Prough. "If you want to give him credit you have to give coach Rob Brant credit. He's done a wonderful job and the kids have responded. The result you see tonight in Johnny's execution."

Rowland himself credits Brant as well.

"I know this is the game he would want me to throw," said Rowland.

As for Rowland's hitting, that's a new development.

"Johnny has struggled until late but he's been working hard," explained Prough. "You've seen it the last week and a half. He's a coachable kid, he's willing to be coached."

The Hornets scored first, scoring a run in the second to take the lead.

In the fourth they added two more while knocking out South's starting pitcher Tyler Askey to go up 3-0.

Runs in the top of the sixth and seventh gave them a 5-0 cushion.

Rowland had a 2-hit shutout going into the seventh when he began to falter. The Mountaineers were able to load the bases with 1-out and managed to get two runs across. It was too little, too late, though, and the Hornets celebrated their first title on Medlar Field.

Rowland finished the seven innings with nine strikeouts, four hits, one walk, one hit by pitch and two earned runs.

Cam Tennis (2-for-4) and Taynton Repard (2-for-3) also had multiple hits in the game for Wellsboro with Dalton Prough, Carson Davis and Silas Wagaman also getting hits.

Aaron Orgitano, Aaron Hughes, Pat West and Hunter Finn had the four South hits.

Askey went 3 1/3-innings in the loss, striking out three while allowing eight hits, one walk and three earned runs.

Tripp Breen finished out, striking out two while allowing three hits, two walks, one hit batsman and two earned runs.

In the top of the second Rowland started off the Hornet rally with a 1-out single to shallow left field. Repard followed with a bunt single that saw Rowland get to third.

After an out Prough hit a single up the middle, allowing Rowland to score and put Wellsboro up 1-0.

They almost made it 2-0 on a Cam Tennis single to left field but Repard was thrown out at home.

Then in the fourth Rowland got things started again with a 1-out single to left followed by a Repard single up the middle.

That knocked Askey out of the game but Breen wasn't able to slow the Hornet bats.

Wagaman singled in Rowland from second base while a Prough sacrifice fly brought in Repard to make it 3-0.

Then in the sixth Rowland led off with an infield single, beating out the throw to first. After a Repard sacrifice bunt Parker Mann reached on an error to put runners on first and second.

Prough moved Rowland over with a fly ball out followed by Tennis bringing him home on a single to centerfield.

In the seventh Caleb Tennis reached after getting beaned with Lucas Citrino coming in to run for him. Brent English then drew a walk but was caught at second base on a Rowland fielder's choice.

With two outs Repard hit another one up the middle but South mishandled the flip at the second base for the final out, allowing Citrino to score to make it 5-0.

South finally got some offense going in the seventh as Rowland showed some cracks.

Rowland pegged lead off batter Orgitano. After getting a strikeout Hughes had a hit to right field followed by West drawing a walk.

With the bases loaded Luke Winner hit a ground ball to the first baseman. Wellsboro was happy to trade a run for an out, getting Winner at first while Orgitano scored.

Finn then hit in Hughes on a single up the middle to cut it to 5-2 with runners on first and third.

Rowland stayed tough, though, getting number nine batter Peter Sinibaldi to fly out to left field to end the game.

Wellsboro will play Old Forge at Canton on Monday with a 4:30 p.m. start.

Old Forge is a powerhouse in District II but the Hornets aren't going to change anything.

"We're going to do us," said Dalton Prough.