District II Championships



By Jacob Gill
Philadelphia Region Director of Scouting

High school baseball + college talent + Triple-A ballpark + big league prices at the concession stand = a recipe for a memorable Memorial Day quadruple-header in PIAA District II.

class a: Old Forge 1, Lackawanna trail 0

Old Forge's 2013 DH Warren Welsh singled home 2013 SS Brenden Wahl with the game's lone run in the top of the second inning. That was all the support that 2013 LHP David Chromey would need, as he tossed a complete game three-hitter with six strikeouts. 2014 LHP Matt Flynn (CG 5-hitter) picked up the hard-luck loss for Lackawanna Trail.

class Aa: lakeland 6, mid valley 0

GrabowskiThis contest certainly did not lack for excitement early on. After knocking home the game's second run with a double to the left field corner, Lakeland's 2015 1B Shane Rivenburg barreled toward home plate on an E4 off the bat of 2013 DH Cody Delfino. The throw took 2015 C Alex Varaksa up the line and a collision ensued between he and Rivenburg. Rivenburg was ejected from the game and Varaksa was unable to continue due to injury. Pleasantries were exchanged between the two teams, but the coaches and umpires quickly restored order.

Lakeland's Eric Grabowski made sure there were no more fireworks, as he was dominant in a complete game effort (2 H, 2 BB, 8 K). The Lackawanna-bound RHP had complete command of his 3-pitch mix and never gave Mid Valley an opportunity to get back in the game after his offense provided him a four run cushion through two innings.

Ksiazekclass aaa: abington heights 5, valley view 0

The Comets broke open a pitcher's duel with four runs in the top of the seventh. Up to that point, Keystone-bound John Kranick (CG, 6 H, 3 BB, 11 K) of Valley View and Abington Heights' 2015 RHP/IF Tyler Ksiazek (CG, 4 H, 0 BB, 4 K) were the story of the game. The left-handed hitting Ksiazek never faced more than four hitters in an inning and also went 2-4 at the plate. 2013 2B Dante Pasqualichio went 1-3 with a huge bases loaded single in the seventh.

class aaaa: wyoming valley west 2, scranton 1

The nightcap provided the highest drama of the quartet of games. WVW struck first on an RBI groundout from 2013 2B Michael Leonard. From there, Scranton's 2015 RHP Colin Maldonato (6 H, 1 BB, 5 K) and WVW's 2013 RHP Chris Nixon (2 H, 2 BB, 3 K) traded zeros until the sixth. With two out and a runner on Maldonatosecond in the top half, Nixon left a breaking up in the zone that 2013 SS Jon Palochko lined into center field to tie the game. The score would remain that way until the bottom of the seventh.

As games like this one often go, the team that makes the first mistake tends to see the final score go against them. With two outs and no runners on, a ground ball off the bat of 2013 3B Matt Labashosky went right under the glove of Scranton's second baseman. That brought 2016 OF/C Ryan Hogan to the dish as a pinch hitter. The freshman calmly laced a double to right-center field that scored Labashosky and initiated a dogpile at home plate.

Top Prospects (see pa scouting blog for complete notes and measurables)


Jake McCarthy
, 2015 OF, Scranton HS

McCarthy has a solid build (6-foot-2, 180-pounds), smooth stroke, and above average foot speed. He tracked the ball well on defense and has good bloodlines (brother Joe named 2013 ACC Freshman of the Year at University of Virginia).

Max Kranick, 2016 SS, Valley View HS

The youngest of three brothers in the starting line-up, Max has the highest ceiling of them all. At 6-foot-2, 160-pounds, he has a lean frame with room to add plenty of strength. He moves well on the infield and already possesses above average arm strength. At the plate, he took aggressive swings and showed an ability to get his barrel to a mid-80s FB.

Colin Maldonato, 2015 RHP, Scranton HS

The solidly built Maldonato showed good mound presence while throwing from a high-3/4 slot with a loose arm and good arm speed. He has a slow, deliberate wind-up, gets to a good balance point, and utilizes a FB/SL combo.

Tyler Ksiazek, 2015 RHP/IF, Abington Heights HS

Ksiazek was on the attack from pitch one, pounding the zone with his fastball-breaking ball combo. The youngster pitched with energy and enthusiasm, and did not appear the least bit intimidated by the stage on which he performed.  Offensively, the left-handed hitter showed quick hands and above average foot speed.

Robbie Nardelli, 2014 C, Valley View HS

Nardelli, who has verbally committed to Temple University, is an agile, athletic backstop with very good arm strength.  He showed a soft glove hand, although often has a lot of body movement when receiving.  At the plate, he starts from a slightly open, relaxed set-up and exhibited good bat speed.

Bonus 2013: Eric Grabowski, RHP/IF, Lakeland HS

Grabowski gets a write-up here because four-year colleges will want to follow his development at Lackawanna College. He featured a plus change-up and solid slider along with his fastball from a low-3/4 slot. At the dish, the athletic right-handed hitter starts from an open stance with a quality set-up and incorporates a toe-tap. He has a smooth stroke and does a nice job getting his hands inside the baseball.

Others to Watch

Jim Blevins, 2014 C, Lakeland HS - Blevins recorded a respectable in-game pop time and hit a triple off the top of the fence in left-center field.

Ryan Hogan, 2016 OF/C, Wyoming Valley West HS - Hogan's heroics notwithstanding, he has a football player's build, showed very good arm strength in pre-game, and some opposite field pop on his walk-off double.

Sean Padden, 2014 OF, Scranton HS - While the other parts of his game are not as developed, the right-handed hitter posted two well above average home-to-1B times.

Jeremy Sabecky, 2014 OF, Wyoming Valley West HS - Sabecky can scoot in his own right. While he will likely end up limited due to his small stature, the right-handed hitter utilizes a short stroke and barreled line drive singles to both left and right field.

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