2015 Rover News

Easton HS baseball team bring Christmas trees for local families
December 19, 2015

Click here to view the video

Diamond Club Meeting Date Announced
December 15, 2015
Easton Baseball Diamond ClubThere will be a meeting of the Easton Baseball Diamond Club being held on Monday December 21, 2015 at Easton High School at 7pm in room C111 near the athletic office main gym lobby area.

All baseball parents are invited to attend.

Easton Baseball Christmas Tree Sale
December 7, 2015

Easton Baseball Christmas Tree Sale

The Easton Baseball team is selling trees at a great pace. We have currently sold 150 trees in one week. We are open from 4-8pm during the week and will finish this Saturday between 9:30am and 5:00pm or until supplies last.

We currently have 19 trees left and will receive an order of 30 more fresh cut trees on Tuesday December 8 by 5pm.

Please support our team and if you would like to donate one to an EASD family please let Coach LaDuca or Coach Hess know at laducac@eastonsd.org or hessg@eastonsd.org.

Cookie Fundraiser Announcement
December 7, 2015

Easton Baseball is offering a Cookie Sale Fundraiser for the Christmas holiday period.

Players who sell the Cookie Trays will be given a portion of the sales for baseball related expenses such as St. Luke's workout payments, spikes, practice gear, etc. Players will be given these sheets at workouts too but you may print out and share with others who are playing other sports or friends and relatives as well.

Please see the attached order forms for details on price. All orders must be given to any baseball coach by December 15th. Pick-up scheduled for Tuesday, December, 22nd. Details to be announced at a later date.

Any questions should be directed to Coach LaDuca at laducac@eastonsd.org

Click here to download the Cookie Fundraiser Product Details
Click here to download the Cookie Fundraiser Order Form

Fall Baseball Meeting - Tuesday October 27th
October 23, 2015

There will be a meeting for the fall baseball teams after school on Tuesday Oct. 27 at 2:45 in room C111. We will discuss our winter workout plans here at school and with St. Luke's Performance group and also discuss other important information.

Players playing a winter sport should attend this meeting also even though you will be involved elsewhere during the winter.

Players in the program last year or others wishing to join who did not play fall baseball are welcome to attend the meeting also.

The Varsity Fall team will work on the field to winterize it after the meeting. JV Fall team may help voluntarily.

Please contact a coach should you have a conflict.

Fall Baseball Begins Wed. August 28th
August 23, 2015

The Fall baseball meeting and first practice will be held Wednesday August 26 at 2:15pm at Easton baseball varsity field for all grades - permission slips, schedules, etc will be handed out to players of each level.

A check for $125 made payable to Easton Baseball is due no later than Friday Aug 28. As This league is not affiliated with PIAA or Easton High School - monies go to league fees registration, insurance for players, umpire fees, baseballs, uniform shirt and other league fees like field usage etc...

This is a twelve team league and both Varsity and JV will play a minimum 10-12 games if not a few more!

Players will need their shirt size and birthdate for the meeting.

Thank you!

2015 Season Award Winners Announced
August 23, 2015
Conor Smith is the 2015 recipient of the Eddie Snyder Award
Ed Snyder was an outstanding athlete, respected teacher, and a successful coach. He taught his players to be aggressive, to be devoted to the game, to respect teammates and coaches, and to have high ideals in sportsmanship. Coach Snyder also stressed high standards in academics and leadership both on and off the field. He was the captain of the 1944 baseball team at Easton, and also captained the Lafayette College baseball team in 1950. He was the Head Baseball Coach at EAHS from 1954-1966. Ed Snyder passed away in 1967. On June 1, 1968, his friends and colleagues dedicated a plaque and an annual award given to the player who best exemplifies his attributes. With this award, Ed Snyder and his ideals continue to be a part of the baseball program at EAHS.

The Easton Baseball Program is proud to announce that senior Conor Smith is the 2015 recipient of the Eddie Snyder Award.

Smith performed extremely well on the field as our catcher and was selected as EPC 18 Honorable Mention Catcher. His strong work in the classroom and school wide contributions were excellent and Smith will attend Misericordia University in the fall of 2015.

Ryan Bonfanti and Jayson Mith will share the 2015 recipient of the Terry Bartolet MVP AwardDr. Terry Bartolet was a three-sport star at Easton High School and is a member of the EAHS Wall of Fame. His contributions to EAHS as a student athlete and later in life as well as an outstanding doctor giving back to his local community make him one of the most widely recognized alumni in our school’s history.

The Terry Bartolet MVP Award will be shared in 2015 by seniors Ryan Bonfanti and Jayson Mitch.

Bonfanti earned 5 wins during the year on the mound for the Rovers and was an important piece of our pitching staff in 2015 as well a major contributor positionaly and at the plate. Bonfanti will attend Kutztown University.

Jayson Mitch led the Rovers in Batting Average over a 25 game span hitting .370 and was selected All EPC 18 Conference Outfielder in 2015. Mitch will attend Drew University in the fall.

Fall Baseball Information
August 6, 2015
Anyone interested in playing fall Baseball this year should email Coach LaDuca to confirm their involvement by August 15.

Anyone going into Grades 8-12 are eligible to participate. There will be a nominal financial fee for the Fall League which will be put out in an announcement very soon here on the site, with details of practice schedule, game schedules and all other pertinent information.

August 31 will be the first game for the Varsity level players.

If you are interested but have not yet let us know, please do so by emailing Coach LaDuca at laducac@eastonsd.org as soon as possible.

Thank you!

Fall Baseball Announcement
July 23, 2015
Fall Baseball information will be coming out on or after August 1 on this website.

Keep watch for sign up instructions. We will have teams that students in grades 8-12 can play on, all are eligible.

It is a league that is run through an AAU style background and it is not affiliated with the Easton School District or the PIAA in any way.

Intramural forms will need to be filled out and all participants will pay a nominal fee for Outside Insurance, umpires, balls, and uniform shirts, and leagues administrative fees. The league is run by Freedom High School Coach Nick DAmico.

When all information is available - fees, start dates, etc. I will post instructions to follow for sign ups.

Thank you!
Coach LaDuca

Easton's Carm LaDuca is 2015 lehighvalleylive Baseball Coach of the Year
June 17, 2015

Photo courtesy of Jim Middlekauff | lehighvalleylive.com contributor. After a slow start, veteran coach Carm LaDuca and his staff led Easton to a deep postseason run.

By Tom Hinkel | For lehighvalleylive.com
Photo courtesy of Jim Middlekauff | lehighvalleylive.com contributor

Carm LaDuca and Greg Hess go back a long way.

The duo formed a friendship while playing varsity baseball at Easton Area High School in the early 1980s. By 1993, both were assistant coaches on the Red Rovers' staff.

Their friendship continued to grow over the years and the one common denominator has been Easton baseball. LaDuca took over as Easton's head coach in 2002 and Hess has been his top assistant since Day One.

"I really consider Greg an Associate Head Coach," LaDuca said. "He supports my decisions but he's always there to throw something new at me."

The 2015 Easton baseball team got off to a less-than-spectacular start. The Red Rovers lost three of their first four games and, on the surface, appeared to be heading toward a long season. LaDuca, however, sensed that something special was on the horizon.

"I don't think anybody ever doubted themselves," LaDuca said. "We knew once we started winning it was going to be fun."

A 14-0 romp over East Stroudsburg North got the Red Rovers headed in the right direction. Later, Easton ran off eight straight wins and 10 of 11.

The Red Rovers advanced to the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semifinals before making a memorable run to the District 11 Class AAAA title game.

Despite not having a lot of heralded players, Easton put together one of its most successful seasons in ages, finishing 17-8.

LaDuca, with help from Hess and the rest of the staff, was the architect behind the Red Rovers' success story.

For these accomplishments, LaDuca is the 2015 lehighvalleylive Baseball Coach of the Year. LaDuca also won the award – then known as the Express-Times Coach of the Year – in 2003 and 2010.

LaDuca made it clear that the award is a result of the entire program blending as one.

"This (award) is a great honor, but it's not about me," said LaDuca, 49. "The reason for our success this year is because the kids believed in themselves. Everyone gets a piece of that. It's a great reward for the program."

LaDuca also gave major props to assistant varsity coaches Hess, Bob Thomas, Matt Rusnock and Mike Palos. Ryan Kanusky, Rick Sheridan and Ryan "Chubb" Miller run the junior varsity program and John Bisco, Jr., directs the freshman team, which went 13-2.

"I'm surrounded by a great group of coaches," LaDuca said. "Another reason for our success is because the kids listened in practice. They took instructions from all over the place. It wasn't like ‘Here's a bucket of balls. Lets hit and go home."'

The team also benefited from the expertise of athletic trainer Steve Hultgren, a former quarterback on the Easton High football team.

"They got together for workouts and I'll tell you, Steve was pretty tough on the kids," LaDuca said, "but it was something they needed to help them working towards our goal. When (outfielder) Jayson Mitch made first team all-conference, the first thing he did was call Steve and thank him for everything he did."

LaDuca and Hess have been together so long that their thought patterns are often similar.

"We're like brothers," Hess said. "We think the same way. If he's thinking hit and run, I'm thinking hit and run. We're always on the same path. It's like a Joe Torre-Don Zimmer type of thing."

"The only thing we disagree on is New York and Philadelphia," said LaDuca, a die-hard Phillies fan. Hess, conversely, roots for the Yankees.

A big key was the development of the pitching staff, led by senior aces Ryan Bonfanti (5-2, 2.64 ERA) and Casey Brown (4-3, 1.81 ERA). Senior Anthony Sartori (3-3, 3.45 ERA), and juniors Ryan Green (4-0, 2.27 ERA) and Alex Kounoupis (1-0, 3.71 ERA) also made strong contributions.

"They all did a great job," said Hess, who handles the pitchers. "They probably weren't the most talented staff in the league, but we knew if they threw strikes the defense would back them up. They didn't fear anybody. What I'd tell our guys was 'Keep us in the game and good things will happen."'

Team defense was another strong point.

"Our guys were real good at fielding the baseball," LaDuca said. "That's what keeps you in games."

The Red Rovers were blessed to have a strong group of captains in seniors Bonfanti and Conor Smith along with juniors Corey Webb and Bryan Reagle.

"This is the first time since I've been here that we've had junior captains," Hess said. "They did a great job keeping the other kids' spirits up. Our locker room didn't have that drama that some other teams have."

Although Mitch was Easton's only first team representative in the conference, the Red Rovers' lineup possessed good balance from top to bottom.

"We had nine seniors and every single one of them – even the guys that weren't starters -- made some kind of contribution," LaDuca said. "The biggest thing is they set an example for the underclassmen."

Easton's season becomes even more compelling when you consider the school celebrated 50 years of baseball at Richards Field this spring and 125 for the program overall.

The Red Rovers' eight game winning streak included victories over rival Phillipsburg, Northampton and Freedom.

"We won the games we were supposed to win and most of our losses were to good teams," LaDuca said. "This group believed in themselves from the start and knew they were going to be successful."

Easton really stepped it up in the district tournament. After defeating Pleasant Valley, the Red Rovers upset Stroudsburg 3-1 in the semifinals after the Mountaineers had trounced Easton 13-0 in early April.

In the district final, the Red Rovers faced a Parkland team that had previously shut them out twice. Easton gave Parkland all it could handle this time before the Trojans scored a run in the last of the seventh to win 4-3.

"That was really hard," LaDuca said. "I don't think most people realize how much time we spend together between off-season workouts and everything."

It was a painful way to end the season. In retrospect, it was a season the Red Rovers will cherish for a long time.

"Wins and losses fade over the years," LaDuca said. "What's important are the relationships you build with your teammates. That's what stays with you forever."

Article courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com
Photo courtesy of Jim Middlekauff | lehighvalleylive.com contributor
Tom Hinkel may be reached at thinkel@express-times.com

2015 Carpenter Cup: Easton's Trey Durrah happy for a few more baseball games
June 15, 2015

Photo courtesy of Matt Smith | for lehighvalleylive.com. Easton's Trey Durrah will play first base for the Lehigh Valley Carpenter Cup team.

By Brad Wilson | lehighvalleylive.com
Photo courtesy of Matt Smith | for lehighvalleylive.com

Trey Durrah's summer brims over with baseball.

"I wouldn't want to spend my summer any other way," said the Easton rising senior, who plays for Palmer Legion, Banko Baseball and for the Easton Falcons in the Blue Mountain League. "I think I have a game every day this week, lots of at-bats, lots of innings in the field for me. I love being out on the diamond."

Durrah has managed to squeeze in even more baseball this week by making the Lehigh Valley squad in the 30th annual Carpenter Cup all-star tournament sponsored by the Philadelphia Phillies.

The team opens play Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. at the brand-new Phillies MLB Urban Youth Academy in Franklin D. Roosevelt Park in South Philadelphia. Lehigh Valley will face Tri-Cape, a team made up of players from five different counties in far southern New Jersey.

Lehigh Valley has a history of success in the event. The squad has the highest winning percentage in Cup history, has won three championships (1998, 2001, and 2011) and played in the final in 2013. But last year's squad went out with a first-round loss, something that had not happened since 2006, and Durrah doesn't see a repeat as likely.

"I do think we have a good chance of making it to Citizens Bank Park (where the semifinals and finals will be played June 22-23) and playing for a championship," Durrah said. "I think we have a lot of good players all around. We've had really good atmosphere at our practices and I am really excited to get on the field with all of these guys. We have great hitting and good pitching; the only thing we'll need is good chemistry on the field."

That latter is something the Lehigh Valley management team, led by general manager J.F. Pirro and manager Ted Plessl, usually does a good job with.

What Durrah especially likes is that he'll be playing first base behind pitchers such as right-hander Rhett Jacoby and left-hander Connor Higgins of Parkland instead of trying to bat against the Trojan duo. Easton lost to Parkland in the District 11 Class AAAA final.

"Higgins and Jacoby really throw the ball in there, and it's hard to get your hands to the ball against them," Durrah said. "I think a lot of kids are going to struggle facing those guys."

Durrah stands out on the roster just being from Easton. Rovers have been rarities on the Lehigh Valley squad over the years, despite Pirro and Plessl's explicit interest in having Easton players.

"I was the only Easton player who tried out this year," Durrah said. "I'm really not sure why. I didn't try out last year, but I have heard about the Carpenter Cup throughout my career. My dad, (Lafayette baseball assistant Gregg Durrah) asked me if I wanted to Carpenter Cup this year and then (Easton coach Carm LaDuca) announced the tryouts the next week, so I figured I'd do it and get a few more baseball games in and get my name out there."

Durrah played mostly first base in fueling Easton's run to within a game of qualifying for the PIAA state tournament.

"We all got along so well, it was a great group of guys and I am going to miss the seniors," Durrah said. "I am going to miss the seniors, it was sad to see them go and miss out on a district title. We wanted to prove that we were a good team for the people that doubted us and I think we did that this year."

Durrah said his personal goal this spring was to improve his hitting, and that has been a success.

"I just got back from a tournament in Richmond, Virginia, and I got a hit in almost every game and had solid at-bats in every game, I thought I hit the ball well," he said. "I did a lot of tee work and a lot of batting practice this spring and I started to hit the ball well. I am really seeing the ball well, getting my hands through the ball and keeping the bat low and ready to go. When I'm hitting well, I just know that I feel right."

Easton football fans should be comforted to hear that Durrah, in addition to all the baseball, is getting his football workouts in as well; he is the Rovers' starting quarterback.

But it being summer Durrah knows his priorities.

"I go to the football night workouts whenever I don't have a baseball game," Durrah said.

If the Lehigh Valley Carpenter Cup achieves at the level it always aims for, Durrah will have a few more baseball games to squeeze in this week.

Article courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com
Photo courtesy of Matt Smith | for lehighvalleylive.com
Brad Wilson may be reached at bwilson@lehighvalleylive.com.

Parkland baseball team pulls out dramatic win over Easton
May 27, 2015

By Tom Hinkel | lehighvalleylive.com

Jeff Strisovsky kept his approach at the plate simple on Tuesday night.

Rather than look for a particular pitch, the Parkland High School senior was just hoping to square up the baseball and find an open spot.

Strisovsky drilled an RBI single with one out in the last of the seventh inning as the Trojans captured their third straight District 11 Class AAAA title with a dramatic 4-3 victory over Easton at Coca-Cola Park.

"It seems like a dream to me," Strisovsky said. "Honestly I never pictured myself doing this. It feels great. I give it up to the coaches. They work us hard in practice. That's where it all starts. We have great team chemistry."

Parkland (25-1) pulled out the hard-fought win after Easton (17-8) scored three times in the sixth inning off Trojans ace Connor Higgins to tie it 3-3.

"When it was 3-0 by no means did I think it was going to stay that way," said Parkland coach Tony Galucy, whose team advances to the PIAA playoffs beginning Monday. "We knew Easton was going to put together some runs. They're tough kids. We knew they weren't going to lie down."

Speedster Andrew Roth led off the seventh against Easton's Ryan Bonfanti by slicing a double down the left field line. Bonfanti struck out pinch-hitter Colin Wadsworth. Strisovsky then laced an 0-1 curveball into left field and Roth dashed home with the winning run.

"I was just looking for something to drive," Strisovsky said. "I'm usually not the best curveball hitter, but I stayed back and hit it hard."

"For two years, Jeff has been a guy that gets on base and does all the little things," Galucy said. "It's nice to see a senior up there in that spot."

Even in defeat, Easton coach Carm LaDuca had nothing but praise for his team.

"I'm at a loss for words because I can feel the emotion and all the hard work our kids put in this year," LaDuca said. "It's tough to lose this way but the heart and soul of this team is tremendous. They can hold their heads high."

Trailing 3-0, the Red Rovers finally ended a 19 inning scoreless drought against Parkland in the sixth. Austin Veres and Corey Webb opened the inning with singles. Trey Durrah then split the gap in left-center for a triple and suddenly it was 3-2.

"I kept looking at the scoreboard and thinking ‘We need more runs,"' Galucy said.

With the infield in, it looked like Higgins might get out of it when he retired Bonfanti and Sean McKee on groundouts. With Conor Smith batting, a Higgins pitch trickled past catcher Dan Zaccaro and Durrah alertly sprinted home with the tying run.

"Durrah got a good break, a good read," Galucy said. "Most players wouldn't even take a chance there."

Higgins retired the Red Rovers in order in the seventh inning.

"When they tied it, it was like a brand new start," Higgins said. "It was like starting over."

"That inning was big," Galucy said. "That kind of stopped (Easton's) momentum."

Easton threatened in the first inning when Jayson Mitch reached on a bunt single and Veres sacrificed him to second. Higgins suddenly lost his control, walking Webb and Durrah to load the bases.

Bonfanti followed with a bouncer up the middle that the Trojans turned into an inning ending 4-6-3 double play. Evan McAndrew made a nifty scoop of a low throw at first base to finish it off.

"I didn't really feel like I had the pop on my fastball," Higgins said, "but I was able to get a lot of ground balls. That double play was a great play."

Bonfanti also had control problems in the first inning. With one out, Justin Afflerbach and Chris Rabasco walked. Tyler Bruno then ripped an RBI double down the right field line. Veres made a nice sliding catch on McAndrew's fly ball to right field, but Rabasco tagged up and scored to give the Trojans a 2-0 lead.

Bonfanti retired the first two hitters in the fourth inning before running into trouble. Rhett Jacoby and Roth singled to put two runners aboard. Zaccaro, the No. 9 hitter, bounced a single through the right side. Veres made a strong throw to the plate but Jacoby managed to avoid Smith's tag to give the Trojans a 3-0 lead.

Bryan Reagle doubled down the left field line with one out in the fifth inning. Higgins recovered by striking out Casey Brown and Mitch to keep the Red Rovers off the board.

Austin Mueller reached on a error with one out in the last of the sixth. Bonfanti then got Jacoby to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. Bonfanti and the Red Rovers weren't as fortunate in the seventh.

"We're very, very pleased with our kids' efforts," LaDuca said. "The whole staff is thrilled. This team has set a legacy for the future.

"That (Parkland) is a great team over there. We wish them well."

Article courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com
Tom Hinkel may be reached at thinkel@express-times.com

Easton-Parkland D-11 AAAA baseball final: Essential info, lineups, prediction
May 26, 2015

By Tom Hinkel | lehighvalleylive.com

District 11 Class AAAA baseball championship
Who: Easton Red Rovers (No. 3 seed) vs. Parkland Trojans (No. 1 seed).
Where: Coca-Cola Park, 1050 IronPigs Way, Allentown.
When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Lehighvalleylive rankings: Easton No. 3; Parkland No. 1.
Records: Easton 17-7; Parkland 24-1.

How they got there: Easton defeated Pleasant Valley 6-2 in the quarterfinals and Stroudsburg 3-1 in the semifinals; Parkland got past Pocono Mountain East 7-1 in the quarterfinals and Northampton 4-2 in the semifinals.

Probable starting lineups: Easton – Sr. CF Jayson Mitch (.384 BA.); Sr. LF Austin Veres (.262); Jr. 3B Corey Webb (.339); Jr. 1B Trey Durrah (.338); Sr. P Ryan Bonfanti (.266 B.A., 5-1, 2.39 ERA, 44 SO, 13 BB, 44 IP); Sr. DH Sean McKee (.375); Sr. C Conor Smith (.339); Jr. 2B Bryan Reagle (.315); Sr. SS Casey Brown (.333); Parkland – Sr. RF Jeff Strisovsky (.298); Sr. 3B Justin Afflerbach (.380); Sr. SS Chris Rabasco (.527); Jr. 2B Tyler Bruno (.421); So. DH Austin Mueller (.289); Fr. LF Colin Wadsworth (.317); Sr. 1B Rhett Jacoby (.220); Jr. CF Andrew Roth (.438); Sr. P Connor Higgins (.143 B.A., 8-0, 0.32 ERA, 58 SO, 20 BB, 44.1 IP).

Pregame notes: Easton has reached the district final for the first time since 1993 while Parkland has won the last two district crowns. Parkland’s pitching staff has dominated Easton in two previous meetings this season. Higgins, an Arizona State University recruit, pitched a four-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts in a 2-0 Trojans win at Richards Field on April 28. Jacoby then blanked Easton 8-0 on a two-hitter, also striking out 11, in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semifinals on May 13 at Hackett Park. This will be Bonfanti’s first appearance against Parkland this season as Brown started the first two games on the mound.

Prediction: Each game has its own identity and Easton will not be intimidated this time. But Higgins is an awfully tough customer. The Red Rovers scratch out a couple runs but the Trojans are just a little bit better … Parkland 3-2.

Article courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com
Tom Hinkel may be reached at thinkel@express-times.com

Easton Tops Stroudsburg to Advance to First District Title Since 1993
May 23, 2015
Easton senior Casey Brown tossed a complete game and drove in the winning run (lehighvalleylive.com file photo).By Greg Joyce | For lehighvalleylive.com
Photo courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com file photo

The last time Casey Brown and the Easton Area High School baseball team faced Stroudsburg, it wasn't pretty. It was the Red Rovers' second game of the season and the Mountaineers tagged them for a 13-0 win in five innings.

"They came out and pasted us," coach Carm LaDuca said.

Things have changed since that April 2 game.

Playing its best baseball when it matters most, Easton continued its run in the District 11 Class AAAA playoffs with a 3-1 win over Stroudsburg Saturday morning at Pocono Mountain East.

Brown went the distance on the mound and also had the eventual game-winning hit to send the third-seeded Red Rovers (17-7) to their first district title game since 1993 under Tony Ciavarella.

"It's one of the best feelings in the world," Brown said. "It's just unbelievable."

Easton has now won 12 of its last 14 games and will play the Parkland-Northampton winner Tuesday at Coca-Cola Park in the championship.

"This is a big step forward for our program," LaDuca said. "You gotta give all the credit to these kids. They've worked so hard this year. … To face a tremendous team like Stroudsburg that's very, very talented all the way through, a tremendous hitting team, it's just such a thrill for our kids to play the game we played today."

Brown struck out six and allowed just four hits. He took the loss the last time the teams faced off, but he only got stronger as the game went on Saturday to keep second-seeded Stroudsburg (22-3) off balance all day.

"I felt great going through that entire game just hitting my spots," he said.

The Red Rovers jumped on the scoreboard in the second inning with a two-out rally.

Conor Smith started it with a single through the left side. Calo Stone came in as a courtesy runner and stole second base, setting him up to score when Bryan Reagle slapped a sinking line drive to center field.

Stone took second base on the throw home, the heads up play paying immediate dividends as he scored on a single up the middle by Brown for the 2-0 lead.

"I was trying to have a good time out there swinging at strikes," Brown said.

The Mountaineers got one back in the bottom half of the inning as they took advantage of an error. But Brown rolled up a 5-4-3 double play to get out of bigger damage.

From there, the senior righty settled in on the mound, striking out three over the next two innings – including Mike Nikorak for the second time. The highly-touted pitching prospect went deep on Brown in the first game of the year, but Brown returned the favor on Saturday by striking him out on a fastball and curveball in his first two at-bats.

"Just trying to keep him off balance," Brown said. "I just wanted to get my friendly revenge against him."

In the fifth inning, Trey Durrah drew a one-out walk and stole second base. He then came around to score on a line drive single by Sean McKee for the 3-1 lead.

Stroudsburg nearly pushed across a run in the bottom half of the inning again, getting runners on with an error and a walk with two outs. Nikorak came up next and shot a single through the left side.

Left fielder Austin Veres fielded the ball and threw a bullet to cutoff man Corey Webb, who turned and threw a strike to Smith at the plate to gun down the runner and end the inning.

"The throw home was huge," LaDuca said. "We did the little things today."

Brown walked the first batter he faced in the bottom of the seventh on four pitches, but came back with a pop up and another 5-4-3 double play to end the game and set off a celebration for the Red Rovers.

"That last one was tremendous, Corey cutting that ball off and Bryan whipping it around real quick," LaDuca said.

"Casey had a great effort on the hill today and gave us a chance to win the ballgame. I thought he got stronger as the game went on. He was on all day and that's what kept Stroudsburg off balance. That's saying something because that's a tremendous hitting team over there with all due respect. That's a tremendous group of kids over there."

With the 13-0 loss long in the rear view mirror, Easton stayed red hot to punch a ticket to Coca-Cola Park.

"We're a different team now I believe," LaDuca said. "Our approaches at the plate have changed, our defense is better, our pitching has done a fantastic job, just a great group of kids who have worked so hard to succeed. You can see they really get along well and they really believe in each other.

"To see them have an opportunity to play on Tuesday is a thrill for our staff."

Article and Photo courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com
Greg Joyce may be reached at gjoyce@lehighvalleylive.com.

Rovers Advance in AAAA District 11 Playoffs
May 21, 2015
Photo courtesy of Bill Adams | The Express-Times. Jayson Mitch (9) slides into home, scoring the fifth run in the bottom of the second.
By Tom Hinkel | lehighvalleylive.com
Photo courtesy of Bill Adams | The Express-Times

Easton Area High School's baseball team took a very methodical approach to success on Wednesday afternoon.

The Red Rovers scored early and often and got a strong pitching performance from Ryan Bonfanti in cruising to a 6-2 victory over Pleasant Valley in a District 11 Class AAAA quarterfinal at Richards Field.

Easton (16-7), the third seed, advances to the district semifinals against No. 2 Stroudsburg (22-2) at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Pocono Mountain East. The Mountaineers scored twice in the last of the ninth to defeat Emmaus 6-5 on Wednesday.

Bonfanti, a senior right-hander, allowed two runs on four hits and struck out five in six innings. Junior Alex Kounoupis pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning.

Junior third baseman Corey Webb was the offensive star for Easton. Webb was 2-for-2 with a walk, scored two runs, drove in two, and stole two bases.

"Corey is a nice player," Easton coach Carm LaDuca said. "You can put him anywhere on the field. He's a great kid who works hard. I'm really glad to have him back next year as well."

Webb had RBI singles in the first and second innings to help stake Easton to a 5-0 lead. Webb also walked in the fifth inning and scored the Red Rovers' final run on a passed ball.

"I just felt good from the beginning," Webb said. "I swung at strikes today. I've struggled with that lately. I just wanted to play loose. I was able to figure it out today."

Pleasant Valley (11-11), which starts five sophomores and a freshman, had to win its last three regular season games just to qualify for districts. The Bears then knocked off Freedom 3-2 in a first round game on Monday.

"Today you saw the difference between a heavy junior and senior team (Easton) and a really young team," Pleasant Valley coach Charles Inserra said. "We're just not there offensively right now."

Bonfanti held Pleasant Valley hitless until Matthew Pierce reached on an infield single with two outs in the third inning. Bonfanti continued to cruise until the Bears reached him for two runs on three hits and a walk in the sixth inning.

"We battled late like we've done all year," Inserra said. "There are a couple plays I'd like to have back but I'm proud of the kids."

Easton jumped on sophomore pitcher Brett Hardy for three runs in the first inning. Jayson Mitch, who stole three bases, walked and Austin Veres had bunt single ahead of Webb's first run-scoring hit. A second run scored on an error and Sean McKee singled home the third run.

"I was very happy with the way we came out," LaDuca said. "I thought we ran the bases well."

The Red Rovers tacked on two more runs in the second inning, which would be more than enough for Bonfanti. Bryan Reagle led off with a double, was sacrificed to third by Casey Brown, and scored on Mitch's single.

Nicholas Domenici replaced Hardy on the mound and allowed a run-scoring hit to Webb, increasing the lead to 5-0.

As they've done all season, the Red Rovers also flashed some leather in the field.

"Easton is terrific defensively," Inserra said. "Their infield made about three plays that were just outstanding. If you give them runs, they're not going to give them back to you."

Easton, which has won nine of 10, is a much different team than the one that Stroudsburg hammered 13-0 on April 2 at Richards Field.

"We've worked hard in practice and have really come together lately," Webb said. "Hopefully we'll throw strikes, play good defense, and scratch a few (runs) together. We'll see what happens."

Article courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com
Photo courtesy of Bill Adams | The Express-Times
Tom Hinkel may be reached at thinkel@express-times.com.

Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Announces 2015 Baseball All-stars
May 14, 2015
Photo courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com.By Tom Hinkel | lehighvalleylive.com
Photo courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com file photo

Easton senior outfielder Jayson Mitch is an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference All-Star first team pick.

The Parkland and Stroudsburg High School baseball teams each had three representatives on the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference All-Star first team. Senior infielder Chris Rabasco, who was named the conference's Most Valuable Player, represented the Trojans on the first team along with senior pitcher Connor Higgins, an Arizona State recruit, and senior infielder Justin Afflerbach.

Senior pitcher Mike Nikorak was one of Stroudsburg's first team selections. Nikorak is projected to be a first-round pick in the 2015 Major League Baseball draft.

Northampton, Allen and Freedom all had two first team selections. Liberty, Easton, Dieruff and Pocono Mountain East had one each.


Pitchers - Sr. Connor Higgins, Parkland; Sr. Mike Nikorak, Stroudsburg.

Catcher - Jr. Ian Luberti, Northampton.

Infielders - Sr. Chris Rabasco, Parkland; Sr. Eric Pugliesi, Stroudsburg; So. Sammy Kraihanzel, Liberty; Jr. Ian Csencsits, Northampton; Sr. Justin Kratz, Allen; Sr. Justin Afflerbach, Parkland; Jr. John Yocum, Freedom.

Outfielders - Jr. Misael Sanchez, Allen; Jr. Jelson Peralta, Dieruff; Sr. Jayson Mitch, Easton; Sr. James Cramer, Stroudsburg; Sr. Zak Gagnon, Freedom.

Utility - Luke Hohenstein, Pocono Mountain East.

MVP - Chris Rabasco, Parkland

HONORABLE MENTION - P Zach McCambley, Pocono Mountain East; C Conor Smith, Easton; Inf Brett Hardy, Pleasant Valley; Inf Tyler Bruno, Parkland; Inf Joel Bartoni, Emmaus; OF Angel Ruiz, Allen; OF TJ Backer, Stroudsburg; Utility Evan McAndrew, Parkland.

Article and Photo courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com
Tom Hinkel may be reached at thinkel@express-times.com.

Easton's EPC Crown Hopes Dashed by Parkland
May 14, 2015

By Tom Hinkel | lehighvalleylive.com

Easton Area High School's baseball team pounded the ball all over the lot on Monday against Freedom.

Perhaps the Red Rovers left their hot bats at Richards Field on Wednesday.

Rhett Jacoby pitched a two-hit shutout and Parkland erupted for seven runs in the third inning en route to an 8-0 victory in an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semifinal at Hackett Park.

Parkland (21-1) advances to the EPC title game against Stroudsburg at 7:15 p.m. Thursday back at Hackett. The Mountaineers edged Liberty 7-6 in Wednesday's first semifinal.

Jacoby was masterful throughout, striking out 11 and walking none.

Easton (15-7), which had an eight-game winning streak snapped, had 14 hits in Monday's 12-5 first round win over Freedom. But Jacoby was in command from the start. He struck out the side in the first inning and fanned two more in the second.

"That first inning set the tone," Parkland coach Tony Galucy said. "I'm sure (Easton) was confidant coming in and that took the wind out of them a little bit."

The Trojans had a mild threat off Casey Brown in the last of the first when Justin Afflerbach and Chris Rabasco singled with one out. Brown recovered by striking out Tyler Bruno and retiring Evan McAndrew on a comebacker.

Jacoby set down the side again with two more strikeouts in the third inning. He got some help from Rabasco at shortstop, who made a nice pick on Bryan Reagle's hard one-hopper and threw him out at first.

"This was probably my best game," Jacoby said. "They're a very, very good hitting team. I've played against them and they have some guys who can really hit the ball. I had good movement on my fastball and my breaking ball was really good."

The Trojans suddenly exploded for seven runs on seven hits in the last of the third. Jeff Strisovsky and Afflerbach singled with one out to put runners on the corners. Rabasco delivered a hit-and-run single to right-center to score the first run.

Bruno reached on an error, allowing the second run to score. McAndrew delivered the third run with a sacrifice fly. After Colin Wadsworth hit an RBI double, Jacoby helped his cause with a run-scoring single to make it 5-0.

"In that inning we stopped trying to pull the ball," Galucy said. "We hit line drives the other way and up the middle."

Andrew Roth's infield hit produced another run, and the seventh run came in on an error.

"Casey got the ball up a little bit, and we didn't make some plays which led to a big inning," Easton coach Carm LaDuca said. "Jacoby pitched a very good ball game. I tip my cap to him."

Although he didn't record any strikeouts, Jacoby continued to cruise by getting three ground ball outs in the fourth inning.

Nick Zenga replaced Brown in the last of the fourth and the Trojans added another run on McAndrew's RBI groudout.

Rabasco made another nice play on Trey Durrah's hard grounder to lead off the fifth inning. One out later, Sean McKee lined a clean single to right field to break up the no-hitter. Unfazed, Jacoby struck out Conor Smith looking on curve ball to end the inning.

"Rhett's pitched really well all year," Galucy said. "He had good velocity tonight, good pop tonight."

Jacoby fanned two more batters to start the sixth inning. Jayson Mitch singled softly off the third base bag for Easton's second hit. Jacoby retired Austin Veres on a grounder to third to end the inning. He proceeded to have a 1-2-3 seventh inning to end it.

Article courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com
Tom Hinkel may be reached at thinkel@express-times.com

Easton Rips Freedom in EPC Quarterfinals
EPC Semi-finals and Parkland Next
May 11, 2015
Photo courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com.By Tom Hinkel | lehighvalleylive.com
Photo courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com file photo

Easton Area High School's late season baseball surge has been fueled by pitching and defense.

On a day when the pitching wasn't at its best, the Red Rovers' offense picked up the slack.

Trey Durrah was 3-for-4 with three RBIs and Ryan Bonfanti settled down after a slow start on the mound to lead the Red Rovers to a 12-5 victory over Freedom in an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference quarterfinal at Richards Field.

"I'm just trying to get in a good hitters count," said Durrah, who's been on a hot streak lately. "I've been seeing the ball real well."

Fourth seeded Easton (15-6), which has won eight straight, advances to the EPC semifinals against top-seed Parkland at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday at Hackett Park. No. 3 Liberty and No 2 Stroudsburg play in the first semifinal at 4:30 p.m.

Corey Webb also had three hits and scored twice for Easton, which had 14 hits overall. Jayson Mitch, Sean McKee and Casey Brown all contributed two hits to the Red Rovers' attack. Mitch and Brown each had two runs and two RBIs. Casey Brown, the No. 9 hitter, slugged a two-run homer.

"We had tons of contributions from everybody," Easton coach Carm LaDuca said. "It was a full team effort."

"The whole lineup hit today," Durrah said. "It was good to give our pitchers a break."

Bonfanti struggled through the first two innings, allowing five runs on seven hits. The senior right-hander quickly found his groove and no-hit the fifth-seeded Patriots (13-8) over the last five innings.

"Sometimes that happens," LaDuca said in reference to Bonfanti's rough start. "He left the ball up a little bit. But he settled down nicely. That was pretty impressive on his part."

"I didn't have my best stuff so I needed to make some mechanical changes," Bonfanti said. "My stride was short and I was leaving everything up. The hitters really picked me up today."

Easton jumped on Freedom starter Zak Gagnon for five runs on eight hits in 2 1/3 innings. Still, the Red Rovers didn't take the lead until Bonfanti's two-run single off Nathan Figueroa gave them a 7-5 advantage in the last of the third.

"We got together after the second inning and I said ‘Keep your composure, there's a lot of game left,"' LaDuca said.

"It was just a fastball," Bonfanti said of his key hit. "That brought my spirits up a little bit."

Easton broke it open with four runs in the fifth inning. Mitch's sacrifice fly made it 8-5. Durrah then unloaded a three-run double to deep right field to put the Red Rovers up by six.

"On the pitch before (assistant) Coach (Mike) Palos told me I dipped my shoulder," Durrah said. "I just shortened up my swing a little bit and I drove it a long way."

"Zak just didn't have it today," Freedom coach Nick D'Amico said. "But the kid's gotten it done all year. I can't blame him. It's more a credit to Easton for the way they hit the ball."

Article and Photo courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com
Tom Hinkel may be reached at thinkel@express-times.com.

Easton Stops Hazleton
May 8, 2015

By lehighvalleylive sports staff | lehighvalleylive.com

Trey Durrah went 3-for-3 with two triples and three RBI as Easton (14-6) posted a 5-2 home win over Hazleton on Friday to wrap up the 2015 regular season.

Tom Spray added a double and an RBI for the Red Rovers.

Hazleton's Dante Biasi went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBI.

Article courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com

Easton edges Pocono Mountain East
May 6, 2015

By lehighvalleylive sports staff | lehighvalleylive.com

Sean McKee singled in the fifth inning and then scored the go-ahead run on an error to help Easton post a 5-4 road win over Pocono Mountain East on Wednesday.

Austin Veres went 2-for-4 for the Red Rovers, who improved to 13-6 on the season.

Easton's Conor Smith had two RBI.

Ryan Pena went 2-for-4 for the Cardinals.

Article courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com

Bonfanti, Rovers Top Northampton
May 5, 2015
Photo courtesy of Matt Smith | The Express-Times.By Tom Hinkel | lehighvalleylive.com
Photo courtesy of Matt Smith | For lehighvalleylive.com

Easton Area High School's baseball team found the right mix on Tuesday afternoon.

Ryan Bonfanti pitched a four-hitter with six strikeouts and Casey Brown was 3-for-3 with an RBI to lead the Red Rovers to a 4-2 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference victory over host Northampton.

Both teams have already qualified for next week's EPC playoffs.

The Red Rovers (12-6 overall, 10-5 EPC) played errorless ball behind Bonfanti, who recorded 10 ground ball outs.

"I was hitting my spots and they were pounding it into the ground," Bonfanti said. "My fielders played great for me today."

Easton coach Carm LaDuca feels his team is playing its best ball of the season.

"We're real excited about the way we're playing right now," LaDuca said. "Today we hit in key spots, ran the bases well and got a great pitching effort from Ryan."

Easton scored twice in the second inning off Northampton starter Nick DeMieri. Sean McKee doubled with one out and raced home on Conor Smith's single. One-out later, courtesy runner Caleb Stone sprinted home on the first of three singles by Brown.

"I was looking for fastballs to drive, anything I could hit hard," said Brown, who pitched six shutout innings against rival Phillipsburg on Sunday. "I've been in a decent slump lately. This is the first time I've actually hit the ball hard."

Easton tacked on another run in the fourth on a double by Bryan Reagle, Brown's single, and Jayson Mitch's run-scoring force-out.

The run proved to be big because the Konkrete Kids (12-7, 10-6) came back with two runs in the last of the fourth. Singles by Jon Miller and Ian Csencsits and a walk to Ian Luberti loaded the bases with no outs.

The first run crossed the plate when cleanup hitter Will Stackhouse rapped into a 6-4-3 double play. Collin Shambo followed with an RBI single, but, considering the circumstance, Bonfanti got out of the inning rather cheaply.

"I was pitching to contact and the double play (against Stackhouse) was actually what I was looking for," Bonfanti said.

"I'll always trade two outs for one run," LaDuca said. "That was a big pitch for him."

Easton scored an insurance run in the fifth inning against Northampton reliever Justin Bragg. Corey Webb and Trey Durrah opened the inning with singles. Bonfanti sacrificed them up a base and Webb scored on McKee's ground out.

It turned out to be enough for Bonfanti. He induced two ground ball outs and a fly out in the sixth inning.

"He hit his spots and when he got ahead he was finishing them," Brown said. "They never knew what he was going to throw."

"Defense has really been one of our strong points this year," LaDuca said. " That's a big reason for our success."

Northampton coach Mick Sugra was OK with his team's approach at the plate.

"I'd actually rather see us hit ground balls than fly balls," Sugra said. "We've been working on our guys staying on top of the baseball. We just didn't string enough hits together. Bonfanti threw a very good game."

Bonfanti saved his best for last. He worked around a two-out walk by striking out the side in the seventh inning.

"Ryan has been very good for us all year," LaDuca said. "Every time we've given him the ball he's given us a chance to win. Northampton is a very good hitting team, and to hold them to two runs is a nice achievement."

Article courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com
Photo courtesy of Matt Smith | For lehighvalleylive.com
Tom Hinkel may be reached at thinkel@express-times.com.

McKee, Easton Romp Past Bethlehem Catholic
May 4, 2015

By lehighvalleylive sports staff | lehighvalleylive.com

Sean McKee went 2-for-4 with a home run, two runs and three RBIs Monday to spark Easton to a 13-3 victory over Bethlehem Catholic.

Trey Durrah and Ryan Bonfanti each had two hits and scored twice for the Red Rovers. Bryan Reagle was 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Tom Spray and Jayson Mitch also drove in a pair of runs.

Anthony Sartori pitched the first four innings to get the win.

Tom Roginsky was 2-for-2 and Isaac Samuel drove in two runs for Bethlehem Catholic.

Article courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com

Brown, Rovers Blank Liners 6-0
May 3, 2015

By Tom Hinkel | lehighvalleylive.com

Casey Brown found his groove on the mound on Sunday night. Then his teammates finally broke out with some offense.

Brown allowed five hits and struck out nine in six scoreless innings and Bryan Reagle crushed a three-run homer to lead Easton Area High School's baseball team to a 6-0 victory over rival Phillipsburg at Hackett Park.

"I was just mixing my pitches, keeping them off-balance, and not let them know what I was throwing," Brown said.

Brown also turned in a strong effort earlier in the week in a 2-0 loss to Parkland.

"What a great effort by a young man who pitched really well this week," Easton coach Carm LaDuca said.

Leading 1-0, the Red Rovers (10-6) busted it open with five runs in the last of the fifth. Trey Durrah's RBI single scored Austin Veres, who opened the inning with a single to right-center. Colton Langworthy relieved Billy McAuliffe on the mound for P'burg and allowed a run-scoring single to Ryan Bonfanti.

Langworthy retired the next two batters before Reagle unloaded a towering three-run blast over the left-field scoreboard to make it 6-0.

"I didn't even know (if it would leave the park)," Reagle said. "It was a first pitch fastball and I tried to look for it. I never really hit a home run before. I just ran out of the box like it was a double. It was a great feeling, one of the best."

P'burg (6-11 ) threatened in the first inning when Pete Schmidt led off with a single and was sacrificed to second. Tyler Weiss walked with two outs. Damian Dudeck followed with a line drive to right field but Bonfanti came in and made a nice sliding catch to end the inning.

Jayson Mitch led off the Easton first with a single but was eventually stranded at third.

The Stateliners were on the attack again in the second inning with Connor Owens leading off with a sharp single down the leftfield line. Ryan Flannigan walked with one out. Durrah, the first baseman, made a nice catch back-tracking on Tom Mandry's popup. The rally ended when Brown fired a called third strike past Schmidt.

A one-out single by Sean McKee and his stolen base one out later gave the Red Rovers another runner in scoring position in the second. McAuliffe got out of it when Reagle hit a soft liner to second base.

McAuliffe recorded two quick outs in the last of the third before walking Veres and Corey Webb. Durrah grounded out to second to end the inning.

Brown, meanwhile, was settling into a nice groove. He allowed just a two-out single to Weiss in the third inning. Toupin reached on a bunt single in the fourth and got as far as third. But Mandry grounded out to third to keep it scoreless.

"(Brown) did a great job keeping us off-balance," P'burg coach Mike Rosetti said. "Offense has been our Achilles heel all year. We just couldn't get anything mounted."

Easton finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, McKee reached on an infield hit and was awarded second base on a throwing error. Conor Smith followed with a single to center. McKee held at third but Smith took second on the throw home.

Reagle broke the scoreless tie by grounding an RBI single to left field. McAuliffe worked out of further trouble. Tom Spray popped to second then Weiss, the Stateliners' first baseman, made a spectacular grab on Mitch's scorching liner to save at least one run.

Brown tossed a scoreless fifth inning despite allowing a walk and a hit batsman.

Brown seemed to be getting stronger. He struck out the side in the sixth inning before he was relieved by Alex Kounoupis, who threw a scoreless seventh inning.

"Those runs in the fifth just boosted me up," Brown said. "It feels great to be our rival across the river."

Article courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com
Tom Hinkel may be reached at thinkel@express-times.com

Rovers Beat Dieruff, P'Burg Up Next
May 2, 2015

By lehighvalleylive sports staff | lehighvalleylive.com

Easton (9-6) scored four runs in both the second and third innings as the Red Rovers posted an 8-4 home win over Dieruff on Friday.

Cory Webb tallied two RBI for the Red Rovers.

Ryan Greene pitched five innings to earn the win.

The Huskies' Juan Marrero went 3-for-3 with two RBI.

Article courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com

Easton Cruises Past Allen
April 30, 2015

By Stephen Miller | The Morning Call

The Allen High baseball team took its home field Wednesday with a chance to wrap up its first District 11 playoff berth since before its current players were born.

Easton ensured the Canaries would have to wait at least one day to celebrate a postseason clincher.

With Allen short on experienced pitching, the Red Rovers went right to work. Easton scored four first-inning runs and kept adding to its lead.

The Red Rovers needed only five innings to finish off their EPC Steel Division win, collecting a 12-1 victory that moved them closer to securing their own spot in districts.

Wednesday's win pushed Easton (8-6 overall, 7-5 EPC) within two wins of clinching a spot in the District 11 Class 4A playoffs. The Red Rovers have six games remaining to secure those two wins.

Easton also moved one game ahead of Allen (9-6, 6-6) in the Steel Division standings as both teams battle for a spot in the eight-team EPC tournament. The Canaries are still in good shape for a district berth, needing to win one of their final five games to qualify for the first time since 1996.

The Red Rovers forced Allen to postpone any thoughts of celebration Wednesday by striking early and often. An RBI single by Ryan Bonfanti, a two-run double by Trey Durrah and an RBI single from Conor Smith gave Easton a 4-0 lead before Allen took its first turn at bat.

"I think we're just hitting fastballs," Bonfanti said of Easton's recent offensive improvements. "It's seeing the ball and hitting it, and stop guessing so much."

Bonfanti finished 2-for-2 with two RBIs, Durrah went 2-for-2 with three RBIs, and Smith went 2-for-2 with three RBIs. All three drove in runs during a six-run fourth inning that blew the game open.

Bonfanti also earned the win with another solid start. He allowed one run and four hits through four innings, struck out seven and walked no one.

"He's pitched more than we could ask for," Smith said. "He's been a real force on the mound for us. There's nothing more you could ask from him."

By saving its pitching staff a couple of innings Wednesday, Easton set itself up for its closing stretch. The Red Rovers have Thursday off before playing five times in six days starting Friday.

Wednesday brought Easton to the end of another busy stretch. The Red Rovers spent the weekend in Cooperstown, N.Y., playing a game there Sunday against Voorhees (N.J.). They returned to the Lehigh Valley on Monday evening and played Parkland on Tuesday before facing Allen on Wednesday.

"Coming up here today, you know you're facing a team that's very capable," Easton coach Carm LaDuca said. "They struggled somewhat on the hill today, and we took advantage of that. So that's a good, positive step for us that we came out in the first inning, scored a bunch of runs and kind of set the tone."

Wednesday's game arrived in the midst of a busy stretch for Allen, too. The Canaries played twice Saturday and again Monday, forcing them to turn to a couple of sophomore pitchers Wednesday.

Allen coach Rob Leskosky could have brought back a pitcher on three days' rest but didn't want to mess with entire staff to win one game. The Canaries play Nazareth on Thursday and Freedom on Friday as they look to check off their preseason goal of reaching the postseason.

"If we were fortunate enough to win today, great," Leskosky said.

"We came out flat," he added. "They came out and put a four-spot on us, and it dampened the spirits."

Article courtesy of The Morning Call
Stephen Miller may be reached at samiller@mcall.com

Parkland shuts out Easton
April 28, 2015

By lehighvalleylive sports staff | lehighvalleylive.com

Arizona State-bound Connor Higgins pitched a four-hit shutout, striking out 11 and walking one, on Tuesday to lead Parkland to a 2-0 victory over Easton.

Tyler Bruno had an RBI double in the first inning and Connor Roth contributed a run-scoring single in the sixth. Jeff Strisovsky and Evan McAndrew each had two hits for the Trojans.

Sean McKee went 2-for-3 for Easton.

Article courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com

Liberty Cools Off Easton
April 25, 2015

By Tom Hinkel | lehighvalleylive.com

Ben Hudock knew what was at stake on Friday afternoon.

Even without his best stuff, the Liberty High School junior turned in a stellar pitching performance against rival Easton.

Hudock pitched six shutout innings before tiring in the seventh and sophomore Elias Gross recorded the last two outs as the Hurricanes held on for a 5-3 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Steel Division baseball victory at William Sheridan Field.

The victory gives Liberty (10-3, 8-3) a 1 ½ game lead over the Red Rovers (6-5, 6-4) atop the division. Liberty also defeated Easton 6-1 on April 13 at Richards Field in Palmer Township.

Hudock, who worked out of several jams, allowed seven hits while striking out two and walking one.

"Ben didn't have his good stuff," Liberty coach Andy Pitsilos said. "He was somewhere in the middle. But it was a gutty performance. It's easy to pitch when you have your great stuff. It's what you do when you don't that makes you a good pitcher."

"That's pretty much what happened," said Hudock, who shut out Freedom last Friday at Coca-Cola Park. "My body wasn't feeling it."

Mike Mittl and Sam Kraihanzel provided the bulk of the offense for Liberty. Mittl was 3-for-4 out of the leadoff spot with three runs and three stolen bases. Kraihanzel drove in three runs on a double and two sacrifice flies and also turned in the defensive play of the game.

The Hurricanes jumped on Easton starter Anthony Sartori for three runs in the first inning. Mittl led off with a single and scored on Kraihanzel's sacrifice fly. Hudock helped his cause with an RBI double and Logan Steidinger delivered a run-scoring single.

"That was awesome to get those early runs," Hudock said. "There was definitely a comfort factor. I just wanted to pitch to contact, and even if I made a mistake we were still up."

Easton coach Carm LaDuca pulled Sartori in favor of Casey Brown after Mittl singled with one out in the second inning.

"Sometimes that happens," LaDuca said. "Sartori had done a great job every time we gave him the ball. It just didn't happen for him today."

Liberty stretched its lead to 4-0 in the second when Mittl scored on Kraihanzel's RBI double down the leftfield line. Brown eventually settled into a groove, striking out six and walking one in just 2 2/3 innings.

Sean McKee and Austin Veres opened the Easton third inning with singles. Hudock then retired Jayson Mitch on a popup before striking out Brown and Bryan Reagle.

"I tip my cap to their pitcher (Hudock)," LaDuca said. "He did a nice job."

Easton threatened again in the fourth when singles by Ryan Bonfanti, Trey Durrah and Conor Smith loaded the bases with one out. McKee, the next batter, hit a line drive down the first base line that Kraihanzel caught and turned into an inning ending double play.

"Sometimes you get lucky," Kraihanzel said. "That worked out nice for us."

"We had some opportunities," LaDuca said. "We couldn't get the big hit when we needed it. When we hit the ball hard they made the plays."

Mittl started the fourth inning with his third hit, a double to deep left. "I've been in a little slump and I made some adjustments," said Mittl, who'll play at Moravian College next season. "I worked on shortening my swing and I hit some balls hard."

"Mittl's been struggling a little and I was really happy to see him break out," Pitsilos said.

Mittl stole third and scored on Kraihanzel's sacrifice fly.

"If it wasn't for Mike getting on and stealing bases those (sacrifice flies) are just popups,' Kraihanzel said. "I give all the credit to Mike."

Easton loaded the bases with one out in the seventh on a double by Corey Webb, a hit batsman and a walk. Gross relieved Hudock and walked Mitch to force in a run. Another run scored when Brown reached on an error and Reagle's RBI groundout made it 5-3. But Gross retired Bonfanti on a groundout to end it.

"This was a big one," Pitsilos said. "Nothing is ever easy."

"I knew Elias would shut the door for us," Hudock said. "I have full confidence in him."

Article courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com
Tom Hinkel may be reached at thinkel@express-times.com

Rovers Rally Past Freedom
April 23, 2015

By Stephen Miller | The Morning Call

For the second time this month, John Yocum carried a shutout into the seventh inning against Easton.

The Red Rovers didn't allow Freedom's ace to finish them off this time.

Down to its final strike Thursday, Easton rallied for the one run it needed to tie the game and earn a crack at the Patriots' bullpen. The Red Rovers scratched out one more run once Yocum left the mound, with Trey Durrah scoring on a wild pitch in the ninth inning to give Easton a 2-1 win in an EPC Steel Division baseball game at Richards Field.

Easton's bench mobbed Durrah after he crossed home plate. The Red Rovers (6-4 overall, 6-3 EPC) managed only two hits in the first six innings but did enough damage late to win their fifth straight EPC game.

In the process, they moved one game ahead of Freedom (6-5, 5-4) for second place in the Steel Division.

"It's a real big win," Durrah said. "We lost to them before and we lost to Liberty, and we want to have a chance to play for an EPC championship. So getting this win was real big."

Easton would not have reached extra innings without Durrah's seventh-inning at-bat. Yocum, Freedom's sophomore right-hander, had held the Red Rovers scoreless for 13 2/3 innings this season when Durrah stepped to the plate.

After fouling a pitch straight down that came back and hit him in the cheek, Durrah refocused and wound up singling with two outs to keep Easton alive. Corey Webb followed by launching the only extra-base hit of the afternoon, a triple to right-center field that drove home Durrah with the game-tying run.

Yocum did not allow another run but departed after the seventh inning. He allowed five hits and one walk while striking out five.

"Obviously we're facing a real good pitcher today, but the one thing about that, the first time we faced him, he struck out 11 of our guys. Today it was five," Easton coach Carm LaDuca said. "We were putting some balls in play today, and we had some better swings and better selections.

"That's where we've started to change our mind-set at the plate. We're starting to see a little bit more success, because we're starting to swing at better pitches."

Easton had the better play in extra innings. Starting pitcher Ryan Bonfanti pitched a scoreless eighth inning to complete a strong effort. He allowed six hits, walked two and struck out six.

Casey Brown followed Bonfanti and struck out the side in a perfect ninth inning. That gave the Red Rovers another chance to win.

After leaving the bases loaded in the eighth, Easton broke through in the ninth. Durrah led off by getting hit with a pitch and moved to second on a wild pitch. An error and an infield single loaded the bases for Austin Veres.

Veres kept his at-bat alive long enough for Freedom reliever Tanner Anthony to fire his second wild pitch of the inning. That allowed Durrah to scamper home without a play and sent the Red Rovers home happy on a cold afternoon.

Freedom, meanwhile, is looking to right itself after a recent slide. The Patriots began 4-1 in EPC play but have slipped in the standings after losses to Liberty, Parkland and Easton in the last week.

"We've run into some good teams," Freedom coach Nick D'Amico said. "We haven't hit the ball the best. We've had good pitching for the most part that's kept us in games. We've played some good defense.

"We just need to step up and get some key hits like we did in the Allen game."

Article courtesy of The Morning Call
Stephen Miller may be reached at samiller@mcall.com

Easton Blanks Dieruff
April 22, 2015

By lehighvalleylive sports staff | lehighvalleylive.com

Trey Durrah belted a double and a home run and drove in four runs to power Easton past Dieruff 12-0 in six innings.

Corey Webb added a double and an RBI while Ryan Bonfanti collected three hits and scored two runs.

Isaac Jimenez was 3-for-3 for the Huskies.

Article courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com

Rovers Win Streak Halted
April 19, 2015

By lehighvalleylive sports staff | lehighvalleylive.com

Easton managed just three hits Saturday, falling in its annual game with Acton-Boxborough (MA) 4-2.

Sean Boylan led the Red Rovers with an RBI double, while Casey Brown struck out four in relief.

Josh Geller powered the Colonials with two doubles and two RBIs.

Acton-Boxborough is coached by former Easton player Pat Grucella.

Article courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com

Players from the 1965 team reminisce before 50-year celebration of Richards Field
April 17, 2015

By Tom Hinkel | lehighvalleylive.com

Jan Powell was somewhat mesmerized as he surveyed the modern day scenery at beautiful Richards Field on Wednesday afternoon.

"Wow, this is like a Field of Dreams compared to when we played," Powell said.

Powell was one of 12 players from the 1965 Easton Area High School baseball team that were on hand Wednesday for a presentation celebrating 50 years at Richards Field and 125 for the program overall.

Afterward, the current day Red Rovers, wearing throwback uniforms from the 1950s, hung on for a 5-4 victory over Allen.

"This has to be one of the nicest fields in the Lehigh Valley with the exception of Coca-Cola Park," Powell added. "It's unbelievable how the times have changed."

"It was a nice field when it opened, it really was," said Jim Young, a retired Palmer Township police officer who was a junior on that '65 squad. "Yeah, it's improved, but it's been a nice field since Day 1."

The first game at Richards Field was played on April 9, 1965. The late Gouge Andrews threw out the ceremonial first ball and the Red Rovers defeated Pen Argyl 2-1.

Karl Dutt, an assistant coach in '65, also was in attendance Wednesday to throw out the first pitch.

"People change, but to me, these guys are still 18 and I'm 35," Dutt said. "I'll be 84 soon, and I feel it. I haven't thrown a ball in 30 years. After Legion ball I gave it up and walked away."

Powell apparently needed a scorecard to recognize the players.

"I just went to our 50-year class breakfast and nobody looks the same," Powell said. "How can you after 50 years?"

"I don't see these guys ever, probably since high school," said Tommy Matchette, a junior pitcher in '65. "It doesn't feel like 50 years."

Dutt has fond memories of the 1965 team, which went 11-5 under the late Ed Snyder.

"They were good kids," Dutt said. "That's the best thing about teaching and coaching. They were fun. They grew up to be good people, and that's the most important thing."

Dutt, who handled the pitching staff, coached in an era when pitch count wasn't scrutinized nearly to the extent it is today. Nonetheless, he claims he never had a pitcher endure arm trouble.

"I never had a player get injured," Dutt said. "We were conditioned. We did a lot of running. Weight lifting was for the birds, and it still is. I'm not an advocate of that."

Young missed the '65 season with appendicitis but stayed involved by serving as the first base coach. The following season, Young was a left-handed relief pitcher that tantalized hitters with his off-speed stuff.

"We called him junk-ball lefty," said Bob DeBias, a junior third baseman in '65. "Matchette would throw 85 (miles per hour) and then Youngy would come in and throw 60. He had those hitters wrapped up like a pretzel. They didn't know what to do."

Young remembers DeBias and shortstop Bruce Meyers as exceptional fastball hitters.

"You couldn't throw a fastball past those guys," Young said. "I never saw kids turn on a fastball like they did."

Young cited one particular instance against Liberty when DeBias roped a single off Gary Lavelle, who later became an all-star closer with the San Francisco Giants.

"I remember sitting in the dugout and seeing Bob hit a line drive single off him," Young said. "Boy could he nail a fastball. I couldn't even see the ball when Lavelle pitched. I could hear it (pound into the catcher's mitt) but I couldn't see it."

Powell pointed out that his class was the only one in Easton's history to play its home games on three different fields – Hackett Park in 1963, Cottingham Stadium in '64, and Richards Field in '65. As he watched the 2015 Red Rovers warm up, Powell found a soft spot in his heart for the old-school uniforms.

"I'm glad to see them wear the socks up," he said. "They usually wear them around their damn heels. I guess I'm just old and I'm not used to change."

For one glorious afternoon, Powell and his former teammates enjoyed a moment that was frozen in time.

Article courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com
Tom Hinkel may be reached at thinkel@express-times.com

Rovers Double up Hawks at Coca-Cola Park
April 16, 2015

By lehighvalleylive sports staff | lehighvalleylive.com

Ryan Greene allowed five hits through six innings Thursday to spark Easton to an 8-4 victory over Bethlehem Catholic at Coca-Cola Park.

Trey Durrah, Bryan Reagle and Corey Webb all drove in two runs for Easton. Conor Smith and Jayson Mitch each had two hits. Mitch and Durrah each scored twice.

Ryan Kokolus went 2-for-4 and scored a pair of runs for Bethlehem Catholic

Article courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com

Easton caps 50-year celebration of Richards Field with victory over Allen
April 16, 2015

Photo courtesy of Sue Beyer | The Express-Times. Easton celebrated 50 years at Charles Richards Field with a ceremony and by donning throwback jerseys.

By Tom Hinkel | lehighvalleylive.com
Photo courtesy of Sue Beyer | The Express-Times

Ryan Bonfanti had a lot of tradition to uphold on Wednesday afternoon.

The Easton Area High School senior turned in an admirable pitching performance on a day the school celebrated 50 years of baseball at Richards Field and 125 overall.

Bonfanti worked six strong innings and also delivered a key hit during a five-run third inning that carried the Red Rovers to a 5-4 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference victory over visiting Allen.

The Easton players wore throwback uniforms for the game. Twelve players from the 1965 team and assistant coach Karl Dutt were in attendance. There was a brief ceremony before the game and Dutt proceeded to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

"This was a big win for the program," Bonfanti said. "It was an honor for those guys to come back and it was important to get the win for them."

Bonfanti allowed six hits, striking out six and walking two.

"I didn't have my best stuff, but I kept my team in it," said Bonfanti, who features a fastball, changeup and curveball. "All my pitches were working, it was just location-wise I was a little off."

Leading 5-2, Bonfanti ran into trouble in the sixth inning. Michael Cesar led off with a double and Misael Sanchez singled to put runners on the corners. Sanchez stole second. Bonfanti bore down, striking out Erick Reyes and getting Edward Fernandez on an infield popup.

However, Angel Ruiz followed with a two-run single to make it 5-4. Now tiring, Bonfanti allowed a single to Justin Kratz that advanced the potential tying run to second. Bonfanti continued to battle, striking out Jeremy Lovera on an off-speed pitch to end the inning. With his pitch count over 90, Red Rovers coach Carm LaDuca replaced Bonfanti with Alex Kounoupis in the seventh inning.

"(Bonfanti) gutted it out tremendously," LaDuca said. "He kept us in the lead, and that's what you want out of a senior."

Kounoupis ran into immediate trouble in the seventh inning when he hit Ivan Solis with a pitch. Kounoupis quickly found his groove. He got Michael Santiago on a popup, struck out Cesar, and retired Sanchez on a ground ball to shortstop Casey Brown to end it.

Allen (4-3 overall and EPC) is much improved over recent years. The Canaries own victories over perennial EPC powers Emmaus and Liberty.

"That (Allen) is a very, very good team over there," said LaDuca, whose team improved to 3-3, 3-3. "We got a good win over a quality ball club."

Allen scored an unearned run in the second inning when Cesar doubled and scored on an error.

Easton broke through for five two-out runs in the third inning against Santiago, who started on the mound for the Canaries. Conor Smith started the inning by reaching on a two-base error. One out later, Bonfanti singled to center but Ruiz threw a perfect strike to the plate to nail courtesy runner Sean McKee.

"I thought we had a run there," LaDuca said. "That kid came up and made a tremendous throw. You don't see that kind of play too often in high school baseball."

Trey Durrah, the next batter, tied it 1-1 with an RBI single down the leftfield line. Bryan Reagle singled and Durrah scored on a wild pitch to give the Red Rovers the lead. Corey Webb and Casey Brown followed with RBI doubles. Calo Stone capped the uprising with a run-scoring single.

"That's been our Achilles heel all year. We get two outs and can't put teams away," Allen coach Rob Leskosky said. "(Easton) battled. I tip my hat to them. Situationally we just didn't get it done."

"We changed our (hitting) approach today and stayed away from balls up in the zone," LaDuca said. "I thought we had a better idea."

A bases loaded walk drew Allen within 5-2 in the fourth inning. Bonfanti worked out of further trouble by retiring Ruiz on a ground out. Ultimately, Easton's big third inning turned out to be just enough.

"The guys did a great job keeping the rally going," Bonfanti said. "The inning is never over."

Article courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com
Photo courtesy of Sue Beyer | The Express-Times
Tom Hinkel may be reached at thinkel@express-times.com.

Calderon leads Liberty past Easton
April 13, 2015

By Stephen Miller | The Morning Call

Alexis Calderon has fallen in line as Liberty's early-week starter.

He is developing a knack for giving the Hurricanes momentum for each segment of their schedule.

Calderon delivered his best outing yet this season in Monday's matchup with rival Easton. He struck out 11 in a complete-game six-hitter as Liberty collected a 6-1 win in an EPC Steel Division baseball game at Richards Field.

Calderon punctuated his afternoon by striking out pinch-hitter Caleb Messinger with two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh inning. His 115-pitch effort helped the Hurricanes (5-2 overall, 3-2 EPC) rebound from a Thursday loss to Allen and collect their first division win this season.

"I was spotting my fastball well, and my change-up was working well too," Calderon said. "With that combo, I was just getting kids out.

"My first game, I struggled a bit with walks," he added. "But I'm starting to find the strike zone, and I'm doing better."

Calderon did not provide Easton (1-3, 1-3) many chances for big innings. He walked two batters and ended six of his seven innings by whiffing a Red Rover.

Calderon pitched with little margin for error until the final inning, when Liberty broke the game open with three runs. A one-out walk and two stolen bases from Mike Mittl jump-started the rally.

The Hurricanes' next four hitters — Ben Kraihanzel, David Guarriello, Logan Steidinger and Mike Lehman — followed with hits against Easton reliever Sean Boylan. Kraihanzel, Steidinger and Lehman drove in runs with their hits, with Lehman's single capping his three-hit, two-RBI afternoon from the No. 7 hole.

"We always talk to the kids that, once we have a lead, it's time to add on," Liberty coach Andy Pitsilos said. "Add on one, add on two, add on three, whatever. But just keep the pressure on.

"We did that today. We were fortunate to get some pitches to hit, and we hit them."

Easton's struggles at the plate have prevented it from having leads this season. The Red Rovers opened their season with 10 runs against Central Catholic but have scored one run during a three-game losing streak against Stroudsburg, Freedom and Liberty.

Easton leadoff hitter Jayson Mitch went 2-for-3 with a double Monday, but the Red Rovers spent too much time swinging at and missing Calderon's fastball. With four more games this week, they need someone to hit a hot streak at the plate.

"We just talked to the kids about our approach," Easton coach Carm LaDuca said. "In the last two games against Freedom and Liberty, our approaches have not been very good. He would get two strikes on us, climb the ladder, and we were swinging at it.

"I just thought at times we looked at too many good pitches that went by and then put ourselves in a hole."

Despite Easton's offensive struggles, LaDuca likes the upside the Red Rovers possess. Pitsilos also sees potential in his team, which finds itself in a Steel Division without a clear front-runner.

Freedom, Allen and Liberty have played the best baseball among the division's six teams so far. The Hurricanes have the top pedigree among that group, as evidenced by their annual trips to the Lehigh Valley Conference playoffs before the EPC formed for this school year.

Liberty has the chance to gather some momentum this week if the weather cooperates. The Hurricanes play Nazareth and Dieruff over the next two days before taking on Freedom in a Friday night game at Coca-Cola Park.

"We've played well," Pitsilos said. "We're real young, so to be 5-2, I think we're doing well.

"We'll see from here. But every day we come out, it's going to be a tough game."

Article courtesy of The Morning Call
Stephen Miller may be reached at samiller@mcall.com.

Freshmen Game is at Wilson WestLawn in Reading
April 13, 2015

Today's freshmen game is being played against Wilson West Lawn in the Reading Area, not Wilson Boro. We apologize for the scheduling error.

The direction links have been updated for Wilson West Lawn in the Reading Area.

Freedom Blanks Easton 3-0
April 10, 2015

By Tom Hinkel | lehighvalleylive.com

John Yocum accomplished just about everything possible on a baseball field on Thursday afternoon.

The talented junior pitched a two-hitter with nine strikeouts and drove in all the runs on a pair of home runs to lead Freedom High School to a 3-0 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference victory over visiting Easton.

"He had a great day today," Freedom coach Nick D'Amico said. "That kid works harder than anyone I know. That's why he's able to do these kinds of things."

Yocum, a Lehigh Valley Conference All-Star first team selection last season, belted a solo home run off hard-luck loser Ryan Bonfanti in the first inning and added a two-run shot in the sixth. They were the only two hits allowed by Bonfanti, who struck out 10 and walked one.

"Ryan Bonfanti pitched a great game," Easton coach Carm LaDuca said. "He gave us every opportunity to win the game. You can't ask for much more than that."

Yocum was in total command on the mound. Mixing a curveball with his signature fastball and slider, he allowed two harmless singles, both to leadoff hitter Jayson Mitch, and walked just two.

"I feel like I'm starting to come around," said Yocum, who threw 113 pitches. "My slider was working a lot today. I was getting a lot of outs with my fastball and slider."

Mitch led off the game with a hard ground single up the middle. He was sacrificed to second by Casey Brown, but Yocum retired Corey Webb on a fly ball to right field and got Trey Durrah on a bouncer to second base.

Easton (1-2 overall and EPC), didn't have another base runner until Bryan Reagle led off the fifth inning with a walk. Yocum proceeded to strike out Sean Boylan, Sean McKee and Caleb Stone to end the inning.

Mitch had an infield single with one out in the sixth inning. Second baseman TJ Czerwinski then made a shoestring grab of Brown's line drive and Czerwinski proceeded to double Mitch off first.

Easton threatened in the seventh when Webb walked and one out later Reagle reached on an error. Boylan then grounded hard into a force play and Yocum proceeded to strike out pinch hitter Ryan Greene to end it.

"Anytime we face a touch pitcher like that we need to make adjustments, and I'm not sure we did," LaDuca said. "We hit too many balls in the air and we need to put more balls in play. When our guys had two strikes on them they had the same approach as when it's 0-0. We need to do a better job in that area."

Yocum gave Freedom (4-2, 2-1) a 1-0 lead in the first inning with a two-out blast that hit the top of the wall in left-centerfield and bounced over.

"It felt good off the bat," Yocum said. "It was a curveball down and away. I wouldn't say I'm a good curveball hitter but that's what I was looking for and I hit it."

Yocum gave himself some insurance in the sixth inning when he drove a Bonfanti offering over the wall in straightaway left field. The hit scored Czerwinski, who walked with one out.

"That took a lot of the pressure off," Yocum said. "That one felt good too, better than the first one."

Yocum's second home run also was on a curveball, only this time it was on the inside part of the plate.

"I figured I'd get a lot of off-speed stuff today," Yocum said. "I feel like my swing is starting to come around."

"John is just a good overall hitter," D'Amico said, "and (on the mound) he did a great job hitting his spots."

Article courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com
Tom Hinkel may be reached at thinkel@express-times.com.

Baseball preview: Easton Area High School
April 3, 2015

By Tom Hinkel | lehighvalleylive.com

Conference: Eastern Pennsylvania, Steel Division

2014 record: 12-9 overall, 8-6 Lehigh Valley Conference

Players to watch: Sr. c Conor Smith; Sr. of Jayson Mitch; Sr. of/if Sean McKee; Jr. if Trey Durrah; Jr. if Bryan Reagle; Sr. if/p Casey Brown; Sr. if/p /Ryan Bonfanti, Jr. utl Corey Webb; Jr. of/p Ryan Greene; So. if Sean Boylan.

Outlook: Strong defense and good team speed give Easton plenty of reason for optimism. Brown and Bonfanti should help anchor the pitching staff. Another pitcher, junior Pete Violonte, will miss the beginning of the season while he recovers from an injury suffered during basketball season. If the offense can manufacture enough runs, it will be an interesting season.

From coach Carm LaDuca: "Our guys are working their butts off. We have a group of young men who know the game and are eager to play hard. I wouldn’t say we have a ton of power but up and down the lineup we have a bunch of guys who'll put the ball in play. We're the kind of team that moves people around. In baseball anything can happen so we’ve got to be prepared."

Article courtesy of lehighvalleylive.com

East Stroudsburg North Game has been Postponed
March 31, 2015

The Varsity game with East Stroudsburg North has been postponed.

No make-up date has been set.

East Stroudsburg North Site Change
March 30, 2015

Weather permitting the Red Rover Varsity will host East Stroudsburg North beginning at 4:15pm on Tuesday March 31st. This was originally a road game at East Stroudsburg North. Easton will still be the away team for this matchup.

The Junior Varsity game with East Stroudsburg North has been postponed. No make-up date has been set.

The Freshmen team will now open the season on Saturday April 4th. Hazleton will be in town for a twin bill starting at 10am. This doubleheader was rescheduled from the first week of the season.

Easton Baseball Apparel Sale
March 24, 2015

Easton Baseball is offering an Apparel sale.

Please see the attached order forms for details on price and types of apparel. The apparel order needs to be returned to Jodi Hess by Friday, April 3rd.

Any questions should be directed to Jodi Hess at eastonareabaseball@gmail.com or you may contact her at (610) 730-3205.

Click here to download the Apparel Order Form

All Baseball Practices are Postponed Today
March 20, 2015

All Baseball practices are postponed for today due to the early dismissal by the EASD.

Saturday practice is 12-2 for Varsity Baseball. Please report at 11:45am.

Junior Varsity and Freshmen players should look for messages from their coaches regarding practices.

Summer 2015 Lehigh Valley Prospect Camp
March 17, 2015

Easton Parents and Players:

This information is for your personal use and for college planning for those interested. All Star Baseball Academy is directed by Mr. McCardell and he asked that I send out the information to our parents, any communications regarding this below should be directed to Mr. McCardell.

All-Star Baseball Academy will be hosting our Summer 2015 Lehigh Valley Prospect Camp on Wednesday, July 1st and Thursday, July 2nd at Easton High School in Easton, PA. We would like to offer you a special home town discount since the event will be held at your high school.

For a limited time, we’re pleased to offer Easton Players a special discounted price of $275.00 (regular price: $399.00). The offer ends March 31st!

Any families who would like to discuss a plan for your son's baseball this summer and the recruiting process please feel free to contact me. In addition, to receive the discounted price, please call Mike McCardell at 610-764-6879.

I look forward to talking with you soon and good luck this season.

Monday, Mrch 16th Practice Schedule
March 15, 2015

JV and Varsity practice will be held immediately after school on Monday March 16 from 3-5pm.

Freshmen practice will be held from 7-9 pm in auxiliary gym.

Practice schedule for March 13th and 14th
March 12, 2015

Practice schedule for Friday, March 13
JV and Varsity practice from 4:30pm-6:00pm
Report Time: 3:45pm

Practice schedule for Saturday, March 14
Freshmen and JV practice from 9:30am-11:00am
Report Time: 8:45am

Varsity practice from 1:00pm-3:00pm
Report Time: 12:30pm

Practice schedule for Thursday, March 12
March 11, 2015

Varsity, Grades 11 and 12 and Freshmen Baseball candidates in Grade 8 and 9 from 4:30-6:00pm

9th and 10th graders who are still practicing with JV team will be off on Thursday

Report Time: 3:45pm

Practice Schedule for March 11th and 12th
March 11, 2015

Practice today, March 11 is for Grade 9 and 10 players who are still trying out for JV. Report time is 3:45pm.

Grade 9 players who were asked to report for Freshmen practice will join Grade 8 players for Freshmen practice tomorrow March 12 after school. Report time is 3:45pm.

Practice schedule for Tryouts - Monday and Tuesday March 9-10, 2015
March 7, 2015

Monday 3/09/15 - Grades 9-12, Report at 3:45pm, Gym Slot 4:30-6:00pm.

Tuesday 3/10/15 - Grades 11-12 and Grade 8 Only, (Grades 9-10 are OFF), Report at 3:45pm, Gym Slot 4:30-6:00pm.

All players should be dressed for indoor and outdoor work. Parking lots will be used. Have sneakers and sweatshirts with you.

All Practices and After School Activities are Cancelled - March 6th
March 6, 2015

Due to school being closed today there are no after school activities or practices.

Tomorrow, Saturday, March 7, Baseball tryouts will be held from 11am to 12:30pm in the gyms. Players in grades 9-12 should report at 10:15am on Saturday.

Additional details about next week will be posted over the weekend

All Practices and After School Activities are Cancelled
March 5, 2015

Due to school being closed today there are no after school activities or practices.

Tomorrow, Friday, March 6, Baseball tryouts will be held from 6:00-7:30pm in the gyms. Players in grades 9-12 should report at 5:15pm on Friday.

On Saturday, March 7, Baseball tryouts will be held from 11:00am-12:30pm in the gyms with players reporting at 10:15am in grades 9-12.

Grade 8 - An announcement for grade 8 practice dates will be posted on the site on Sunday March 8 for the upcoming week. Varsity and JV teams must be picked first due to PIAA rosters due dates and then the freshmen team will be finalized. Thank you all for your patience with the weather situation we are facing.

Tonight's Diamond Club Booster meeting is postponed due to the schools being closed. A new date will be sent through the eastonbaseball email chain and posted here when the officers select the date and time.

Today's March 4 practices and tryouts have been postponed by the EASD
March 4, 2015

Tomorrow's baseball tryouts, Thursday March 5, will be held at 7:30-9:00pm with players in Grades 9-12 reporting at 6:45pm.

Due to the cancellations the past few days 8th graders will not start as originally planned due to only one practice being held thus far for upper classmen. 8th graders should look back on the site here to see when their first practice will be held (Saturday at the earliest).

If school is postponed tomorrow due to the storm coming and we do not practice again, 8th graders will not start until next week. A more specific comprehensive schedule will be posted here as soon as tomorrow's storm and practice possibilities come into a clearer consideration.

Thank you all for your patience during this horrible weather pattern.

Baseball Practice is Cancelled for Tuesday March 3, 2015
March 3, 2015

Due to the impending inclement weather, the Easton Area School District has cancelled all after school and evening programs and activities scheduled for today March 3, 2015.

Baseball will practice tomorrow evening March 4 from 7:30-9:00pm.

All players grades 9-12 should report at 6:45pm.

Week of March 2-7 Tryout Practice Schedule
February 28, 2015

All players should report to tryout practices with baseball hat, long pants, sneakers or turf shoe, and sweatshirt if needed for outdoor activity on parking lots etc...

Monday and Tuesday, March 2 and 3 - Practice for Grades 9-12 (6:00-7:30pm gym slots) - Report time 5:15pm - Pre Practice conditioning will take place at 5:30pm

Wednesday, March 4 - Practice for Grades 9-12 (7:30-9:00pm - gym slots) Report time is 6:45pm - Pre Practice meeting and conditioning will take place at 7:00pm.

Thursday, March 5 - Practice for Grade 8 and Grade 11-12 (7:30-9:00pm - gym slots) Report time is 6:45pm - Pre Practice meeting and conditioning will take place at 7:00pm.

Friday and Saturday, March 6 and 7 - Practice announcements for grade levels etc. will be announced during the first few days of the tryout period. Grade levels will be notified of how this will be handled.

Friday, Practice Time is 6:00-7:30 - Report time is 5:15pm
Saturday, Practice Time is 11:00-12:30 - Report time is 10:15am

Any general questions regarding the tryouts can be directed to Coach LaDuca at laducac@eastonsd.org

Varsity contact - laducac@eastonsd.org
Junior Varsity contact - kanuskyr@eastonsd.org
Freshmen contact - biscoj@eastonsd.org

Diamond Club Meeting Date Announced
February 27, 2015
Easton Baseball Diamond ClubThe next Easton Baseball Diamond Club meeting will be held on Thursday, March 5th at 7pm in Room C111.

Schedule this week Feb. 23-27
February 22, 2015

Monday Feb. 23 - 2:35pm - Pitchers/Catchers/Hitting/Defense

Tuesday Feb. 24 - St. Luke's workout group final testing at St. Luke's West End Center - same spot we did initial testing in November - Testing is scheduled for 6:00 pm but may be moved up slightly earlier. An announcement will be made on Monday at Intramurals if the time change occurs.

Address is 501 Cetronia Road Allentown PA
Use Rt. 22 west then take
Rt 309
Take Tilghman Street West ramp and merge onto Tilghman Street
Turn left onto Cetronia Road (0.2 mile also called Hausman Road)
(Josh Early Candies is on the corner)
501 Cetronia Road is on the left at second light (0.3 mile)

Wednesday Feb. 25 - Long Toss Pitchers after school / 8th grade hitting at 5-7pm

Thursday Feb. 26 - No workouts - Spring Sports Meeting 6pm

Friday Feb. 27 - Pitchers and Catchers - Hitting 2:35pm

IMPORTANT - Concussion IMPACT testing Thursday
February 18, 2015

Concussion IMPACT testing is a requirement of all tryout participants for the 2015 season.

All players who played another EASD sport this year are exempt and do not have to take the test. Those who are playing a sport for the first time this year must attend the testing Thursday evening, Feb. 19, 2015 at 5:15 in the writing lab at EAHS next to the Library. Please have the pink form completed by your parent when you arrive. You must have this form!

8th Grade Hitting Intramurals that were postponed yesterday will be held Friday evening Feb. 20 from 5-7pm in the auxiliary gym.

Workouts Today Postponed
February 17, 2015

Due to school being postponed today all workouts Tuesday are cancelled.

Changes to the workout schedule are as follows:

Wednesday after school - 2:35pm - ALL PITCHERS and CATCHERS will throw bullpens and ALL other players will hit in the auxiliary gym immediately after school.

Easton Baseball Week of Feb. 16-21
February 16, 2015

Monday - No workouts - School Closed - President's Day

Tuesday - Pitchers and Catchers/ Hitting/ Defense - Both Gyms 2:35pm

Wednesday - St. Luke's Workout with Trainer Steve 2:35pm / Long Toss

Thursday - No workouts scheduled - but MANDATORY Impact Concussion Testing for all players who have not had the test done this school year will be given at 5:15pm in the EAHS Writing Lab room H206 next to the Library.Those who played another EASD sport on any level and took the test already do NOT have to attend.

Friday - Pitchers/Catchers/ Hitting / Defense in both gyms 2:35pm

Saturday - Physicals for baseball 9:30am EAHS Main Gym Lobby Grades 8-12

Workouts for the Week of Feb. 9 to Feb. 13, 2015
February 8, 2015

All players interested in playing baseball this coming spring should sees Coach LaDuca in room B220 for Sign up and physical paperwork this week!

Monday Feb. 9
All Pitchers and Catchers in Pitch Room 2:35pm
All players for Hitting and Defense in both gyms 2:35-5:00pm

Note: If inclement weather closes or we have an early dismissal from school Monday- Pitchers and Catchers workout will take place Tuesday and Hitters will move to Wed. both immediately after school.

Tuesday Feb. 10
No workouts scheduled

Wednesday Feb. 11
St. Luke's Workout with Steve Hultgren 2:35pm
Long Toss - Pitchers and Catchers

Thursday Feb. 12
No workouts scheduled

Friday Feb. 13
All Pitchers and Catchers in Pitch Room 2:35pm
All Players for Hitting and Defense in both gyms 2:35-5:00pm
St. Luke's workout - Time TBA

Diamond Club Meeting Postponed and Important Dates
February 4, 2015

Due to a conflict we will be rescheduling the Diamond Club meeting for next week, Tuesday, February 10th, 7:00, Room C111.

Information from Coaches
Coach LaDuca will be meeting with players from grades 9-12 on Friday, 2/6, to hand out paperwork. Coach Bisco will be meeting with 8th grade on Thursday, 2/5.

Impact Testing - Thursday, 2/19 at 5:15 PM in the EAHS Writing Lab. This is only for players who did not play other sports this year.

Physicals - Saturday, 2/21 at 9:30 AM.

Spring Sports Orientation and Parent Meeting - Thursday, 2/26 at 6:00 PM

St. Luke's Final Testing - Tuesday, 2/24 at 6:00 PM. This is for players who have been doing the workouts with St. Luke's group.

Tryouts will begin Monday, 3/2. More information will be given at the Parent Meeting.

First Pitch Banquet - Thursday, 3/19. More information to follow.

Changes to Workout Schedule for February 2-6
February 3, 2015

Due to school being cancelled Monday Feb. 2 the Tuesday February 3 workout will be for ALL players.

Pitchers and Catchers will throw and hitting will take place in the auxiliary gym at 2:35.

St. Luke's workouts will now be held on Wednesday and Friday this week after school.

There will be a Diamond Club meeting in room C111 on Wed. evening Feb. 4 at 7pm. All parents are welcome.

Workout Schedule for February 2-6
January 30, 2015

Key Points - ALL PITCHERS and CATCHERS should report on Monday and Friday starting this week!!!!!! Catchers should have their gear!

Monday - February 2
Pitching from 2:30-3:30 with Coach Hess
Workout with St. Luke's at 3:30pm immediately follows Pitching

Tuesday- February 3
Hitting - Aux. Gym 2:30-4:00 ALL PLAYERS

Friday - February 6
Pitchers and Catchers from 2:30-3:30 with Coach Hess
Workout with St. Luke's at 3:30pm
Non Pitchers/Catchers and Non St. Luke's Players will hit at 2:30pm in hitting cages will be open after workout for St. Luke's workout players

Note - St. Luke's workout players who are not pitchers and catchers can hit between 2:30-3:30 before their workout.

Papers will be handed out this week for Sign Ups , Physicals etc...

Coach LaDuca will have papers for guys in workouts throughout the week and anyone else who wants to sign up may come to room B220 during the school day to secure paperwork needed. Grade 8 will have a meeting at 7/8 EAMS this week on Thursday February 5 at 3pm. Listen to announcements at school for verification of this and for the classroom where the meeting will be held.

Due to the inclement weather the EASD is closed on Tuesday Jan. 27, 2015
January 27, 2015

Schedule for remainder of week - if we have a half day Wed. the 28th - St. Luke's workouts will be held at 11:35am - if it is a full day of school or 2 hour delay the workout will be held at 2:35pm after school.

Thursday Jan. 29 - No workout scheduled

Friday Jan. 30 - St. Luke's workout and ALL hitters for aux gym hitting at 2:35pm after school. Coach Hess will address pitchers and catchers.

Please Note Change to previous announcement psoted this morning
January 23, 2015

St. Luke's workout will now be held on Monday Jan. 26 after the 1/2 day dismissal at 11:30am instead of Tuesday. The second St. Luke's workout next week will still remain on Friday at 2:35pm after school.

Tuesday - Jan. 27 - ALL players for Hitting in aux. gym immediately after school -2:35-5:00 - No St. Luke's workout. ALL pitchers and catchers will meet with Coach Hess.

Wed. - No workouts scheduled

Thursday - No workouts scheduled

Friday - St. Luke's workout and ALL other Players - Hitting in Aux Gym at 2:35 after school.

Announcements and Workout Schedule for Week of Jan. 26-30, 2015
January 23, 2015

All players should make sure that they are at the following workouts as the season is 6 weeks away. It is important to get yourself in the best physical and baseball shape possible to be at your best during the tryout period.

Meetings will be held in early February for paperwork for sign ups and physicals at both the high school and at EAMS 7-8 for our 8th graders.

Special 8th grade hitting nights will be scheduled in February - please look here for a schedule once posted.

St. Luke's Workouts are scheduled for Tuesday and Friday - Jan. 27 and Jan. 30. - We will also have the Auxilary gym from 3-5pm on those same two days for hitting in the batting cages.

Players not involved with St. Luke's will be hitting at 2:45 and then may leave after several rounds of hitting and drill work. St. Luke's workout participants will hit immediately following their workout.

Coach Hess will be meeting with all pitchers and catchers to go over the throw program starting this week. A time will be sent out on Twitter and on this website.

As always - Communicate to the coaches!!!!!!!!

All After School Programs Have Been Cancelled Today
January 21, 2015

Due to the early dismissal by the EASD today - there are no after school activities allowed. St. Luke's Sports and Human Performance workout scheduled for today is postponed.

Next workout - Trainer Steve Hultgren will be here at 11:30 am Friday after the Exams day 11:20 early dismissal to train you. Please be in attendance!

Anyone who can make it back after the earlier workout Friday to hit - the cages will be available from 2:30-3:30 in aux gym. The coaches will be there to open it for you.

A schedule for next week will be posted over the weekend.

Hitting times for Week of January 20-23
January 20, 2015

Hitting for Tuesday 1/20 is postponed due to school teacher inservice.
St. Luke's Weight Training 1/21 2:35 after school

Thursday - No workouts scheduled - no available hitting time.

Friday - Half Day of School - Final Exams - workout at 11:35pm with St. Luke's immediately after early dismissal.

Friday - Optional - Those who drive or who can get rides - Hitting at 2:30-3:30 pm for those who can make it back to hit - the coaches will be there to open up.

Workouts for the week of January 20th-23rd
January 19, 2015

Workouts with St. Luke's Human Performance group with Steve Hultgren will be held on Wednesday January 21st at 2:35pm after school and also on Friday at 11:35am after the Final Exams half day. Steve will be present to conduct the workouts immediately following the 11:20 dismissal.

Hitting times will be posted here once I return to school and clarify the gym times available.

Pitchers will be meeting with Coach Hess very soon to discuss our throwing program and beginning dates etc. Look for that meeting date here also.

Baseball Intramurals scheduled for today are postponed for today
January 12, 2015

Due to inclement weather, the Easton Area School District will be closed on Monday, January 12, 2015. There will be NO after school programs. Baseball Intramurals scheduled for today are postponed for today.

Baseball Intramurals will be held immediately after school at 2:35pm tomorrow - Tuesday January 13, 2015. St. Luke's workout participants will workout with trainer Steve and then come upstairs to hit in the auxiliary gym after. Players not involved in St. Luke's workouts will hit in the cages in auxiliary gym immediately after school for about one hour.

Please communicate with any of the coaches regarding attendance to any workouts should you have an issue.

St. Luke's workouts will also be held Friday Jan. 16 after school.

Baseball Intramural Workout Schedule January 12-16, 2015
January 9, 2015

Monday January 12th - All players for Hitting in Aux. Gym 5-7 pm. Players should also bring their gloves.

Tuesday January 13 - St. Luke's workout participants will work out at 2:35pm and then proceed to the aux. to hit immediately following until 5pm. All other players not involved in the St. Luke's workouts may hit right away after school.

Friday - January 16 - St. Luke's Workouts after school at 2:35pm.

Hitting and Workout Schedule Week of January 5th to the 9th
January 3, 2015

All candidates for Easton Baseball Spring 2015 should now start to attend the listed workouts below in regards to pitching and hitting.

Pitchers and catchers are long tossing now and will be working toward flat ground bullpens and bullpens as January progresses into February.

Anyone who played fall baseball already has the permission slips needed to work out in these settings. If anyone needs the paperwork see Coach LaDuca in room B220.

Monday January 5th - Hitting in Auxilary Gym for anyone grades 9-12 from 5-7pm

Tuesday January 6th - St. Luke's workout at 2:35 for those participants who are involved with that program. All others will hit in Auxilary Gym immediately after school. We have gym from 3-5pm St. Luke's workout group will come and hit after their workout.

Friday January 9th - St. Luke's workout group will have workouts immediately after school.

  • Next Meeting
    Wednesday, August 16th
    EAHS Library
  • Next Meeting
    Wednesday, August 16th
    EAHS Library
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