MOOSIC — With just one game in 18 days since Lackawanna Trail’s season ended, Liam Dougherty could have been considered rusty or well-rested when it came time to pitch for the Lackawanna League Sunday in the third annual Field of Dreams high school baseball senior all-star game.
Dougherty’s performance gave him the appearance of being well-rested.
Of the nine pitchers who each worked an inning for the Lackawanna League, Dougherty was the only to be perfect, retiring all three batters he faced, beginning and ending with strikeouts.
A late rally ultimately gave the Wyoming Valley Conference a 9-6 victory, but when Dougherty stepped off the mound, the Lackawanna League held a 4-1 lead after 3 ½ innings.
“I felt good,” said Dougherty, who has played just one American Legion game for Montrose since the Lions fell in the District 2 Class A semifinals against Blue Ridge. “I’ve been off from baseball since we lost.
“In terms of throwing, my arm felt really good pitching.”
Dougherty said it helped to be throwing to a friend, Mid Valley catcher Alex Varaksa, who was on the same Baseball U-PA team last summer.
Playing with Varaksa and Valley View’s Dom Bordo and against Crestwood’s Curt Yenchik and Nanticoke’s Joe Olszyk, all Baseball U-PA teammates, added to the experience for Dougherty.
“Certainly, we were all taking it seriously,” Dougherty said, “but at the same time, it was still an all-star game so the purpose was fun.”
Dougherty also played second base in the game while Lackawanna Trail teammate Jared Phillips played first base.
Of the 20 players on the all-star team roster, Dougherty had the most RBI (20) in Lackawanna League play and was tied, along with Phillips and others, for most home runs (three) and extra-base hits (eight).
Dougherty said the all-star game and his time with the Montrose Legion team this summer are important in keeping him stay active in the sport, which he plans to play in college. Dougherty will attend The University of Scranton and study business.
Scranton Prep was represented in the game by Dan Ryan and head coach Joe Ross.
Ryan played shortstop and was also 0-for-2.
Ross served as Lackawanna head coach, working with his Scranton Prep assistants Jason Bugno, Mark Seitzinger, John Stolan, Doug Moyle and Tony Cimino and four other league head coaches, including Bill Zalewski from Abington Heights.
Pitcher/third baseman Tyler Ksiazek, pitcher/left fielder Zach Manasek and shortstop Jimmy Fayocavitz from Abington Heights would have been part of the Lackawanna League team, but Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association rules prevent players from participating in all-star games until after their high school careers are complete. The all-star game was conducted with Abington Heights still waiting to play in the state Class AAA semifinals.