Yough rallies for win against West Hempfield in summer baseball opener

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Saturday, June 13, 2020 | 5:09 PM


It was opening day for the Westmoreland County American League baseball season Saturday, and players from Yough and West Hempfield couldn’t have been happier.

It was a day many figured back in April may never come.

But when Gov. Tom Wolf finally lifted the restrictions for the coronavirus on June 5, moving Westmoreland County to the green phase, the league got the go-ahead to begin the season.

Yough and West Hempfield got picked to open the season for the nine-team league made up of mainly American Legion rosters.

After the Pennsylvania American Legion canceled the season, Legion Region 7 director Jason Bush put together a league. The Central Penn League and the Cambria/Bedford leagues are also having a season.

A group, headed by Bob Johnston, Geno Sedlak and Bill Chruscial, put together a league playing by different rules made up of nearly 30 teams from Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties. That league, along with a group from Beaver County, will open their season Wednesday.

“When I found out that we were going to have a season, I was pumped,” West Hempfield pitcher Mitch Miletics said after Yough rallied for an 11-5 victory. “It was great to get back on the field again with the guys. I love the game, and I love to get back out here.”

Miletics gave West Hempfield the early 2-0 lead with a home run over the center-field fence at Lint Field.

“I hit it well and when I rounded first I saw the umpire give the sign I said there is no way,” Miletics said. “It carried out.”

Yough, which played a little sloppy in the first two innings, rallied from a 4-0 deficit and erupted for eight runs in the fifth inning by sending 12 players to the plate off two West Hempfield pitchers.

Sean Royer’s single gave Yough a 5-4 lead, Ryan Lobovinsky’s hit made it 6-4 and Cody Ulander’s bases-clearing triple made it 9-4.

“It was amazing to get back on the field,” said Ulander, who will play at Westminster this fall. “We put in a lot of hard work waiting for this moment after the covid-19 delayed our season.

“We were a little rusty early and then we started seeing the ball a lot better and putting the ball in play and good things happened. It was looking for a first-pitch fastball to drive and he hung a curveball and I was able to find a gap.”

Mike Bell had two hits and two RBI for Yough and Caden Kastronis added a two-run single in the sixth inning. Yough collected 10 hits and took advantage of six walks and four hit batsmen.

Yough reliever Vinny Martin calmed things down as he allowed one hit – an RBI double by Jake Cramer in the seventh – and one run over the final five innings. He struck out seven and walked three.

Yough coach Craig Spisak said he was pleased with the effort after the long layoff.

“I believe it was March 11 when we had a scrimmage against Norwin,” Spisak said. “You could see the more reps we were getting the rust was coming off. I think all the kids, both teams, were happy to get out.”

West Hempfield coach Jason Resnick said he treated the game more as a scrimmage because he wanted to see how his young kids would respond. He was pleased.

“We were excited to get out here,” Resnick said. “I thought we played well, really well, especially early. Both teams were a little rusty and we were a little more rusty than they were. All-in-all, I was satisfied at what happened.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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