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NTL BASEBALL: HUGO WINS PITCHER'S DUEL OVER TAVANI AS WYALUSING EDGES TOWANDA (2024-03-27)

BY CHRIS MANNING
Northern Tier Sports Report
WYALUSING — Coming into this season there was a big question mark at the top of the Wyalusing pitching rotation with long time ace Blake Morningstar off to college. On Tuesday Trehnon Hugo went a long ways towards answering that question, striking out nine as he went the distance in the Rams’ 3-2 season opening win over Towanda in NTL baseball action.

“It feels amazing,” Hugo said about getting the win. “The first time back on the mound, I was a little rusty, but was feeling good - it was a good win.”


He allowed four hits, one walk, and two earned runs on 96 pitches.


“Hats off to Hugo, a gutsy performance out there to get the W for us on three runs,” said coach Nick Vanderpool.


They led 3-1 most of the way but Towanda rallied in the seventh, scoring a run to make it a 1-run game with one out.


Hugo was in a 3-0 hole, but dug out of it, throwing six straight strikes to get the final two outs and the win.


“I knew I had to lock in there with base runners on,” explained Hugo. “I had to settle down.”


His coach was relieved to see the senior come through.


“When he went 3-0 on the seven hitter there I was getting a little nervous,” explained Vanderpool. “I was trying to think what my move was going to be, where to go pitching wise, so hats off to him. 3-0 count, goes back with three straight strikes, and then takes care of business with the eight hitter to get the job done. He wanted the ball the last inning - he probably threw more pitches than I wanted him too but he said he felt good, and he wanted it, and that’s what I want to hear out of my ace.”


Despite the lack of offensive fire power Vanderpool was glad to come away with the victory.


“A wins a win, that’s what I just told the boys,” he said. “We’ve got to do a little bit better job about scoring runs. We jumped out three runs in the first inning, we’re hitting the ball all over. We had a lot of hard hit outs, but we had bases loaded with one out, and our three hitter up, and squandered an opportunity there. In the second, third, and fourth innings we had four guys in scoring position those three innings, so we’ve got to do a better job of scoring runs - it was kind of our Achilles’ Heel down the stretch last year.”


Towanda got an equally gutsy performance from Jack Tavani, who also went the distance, striking out two with six hits, no walks, and three runs, just one of which was earned, all on 77 pitches.


“I’m super proud of the way we came out and played today,” said Towanda coach Karl Raffin. “We pitched well, we hit the ball hard a few times right at guys. The kids fought the whole game, so even though we lost the outcome could have been better but no complaints.”


Tavani did a good job of throwing strikes - 50 of his 77 were over the plate or he got guys swinging.


“Jack pitched himself out of a jam a little bit early in the game,” Raffin said. “We made a few errors, which is going to happen, we haven’t been outside too much, a little bit jitters the first game, but we pitched out of some jams, and I’m pretty happy with the way we played today.”


At the plate Hugo went 2-for-3 to lead the Rams while Kenny Mapes (1-for-3) had a double with a run scored, and an RBI.


Hunter House (1-for-3) and Nick Vanderpool (1-for-3) both scored, with House driving in a run. Parker Petlock (1-for-3) also had a hit.


Dawson Butts (2-for-3) led Towanda as Teagan Irish (1-for-3) scored a run. Gianni Assante Di Cupillo (1-for-3) drove in a run while Jack Wheaton crossed home.


Towanda got on top first, as Wheaton led off the game with a walk, then scored on an Assante hit two batters later for the 1-0 lead.


It didn’t last long as Wyalusing got three in the bottom half, with Vanderpool reaching on a 1-out error. Mapes doubled him in, then he scored on a House single. Two batters later an error off the bat of Petlok brought in House for the 3-1 lead.


It stayed like that until the top of the seventh when Irish led off with a hit, then took third on a Butts single to put two on with no out.


A Cameron Fields fly-out brought in Irish to make it 3-2, but that’s as close as it got, as Hugo got back to back strikeouts to secure the win.


Towanda (0-1) will travel to NP-Mansfield Thursday while Wyalusing (1-0) will host Troy (1-0), who just beat Athens, on Thursday.


The Rams know they’ll need to start scoring more runs, though, if they want to turn the win into a win streak.


“I think the middle or bottom order can come through,” Hugo said. “We just need to hit the ball hard and keep hitting.”


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PHOTOS BY CHRIS MANNING




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