Leonard Guarna, Jr.
- Post by: mcalibrary
- January 11, 2024
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One of the criteria for entering the hall of fame is to bring statewide recognition to your team or town. If you’re lucky, maybe even national recognition. How about international? That’s exactly what Len Guarna Jr did when his Johns Hopkins Baseball Team defeated the Russian team from Medeleyev Institute in Russia in 1988. There was probably a lot of one, two, three strikes you’re out being yelled to the Russians. Len was a 4 year letter-winner while at Hopkins, playing in 107 games and posting a .347 career batting average and .909 fielding percentage. Guarna still appears in season best categories with hits, triples, doubles, RBI’s and walks. During his four years from ‘85-’88, Hopkins and coach Bob Babb rang up 111 wins – the most ever in a 4 year period at the time. The 1986, 87, and 88 teams would all win MAC Southeastern Section Championships, while the 33-5-1 mark put up by the 86 team registered the second best winning percentage – .868 – in Hopkins history. Only 5 teams have ever won more than the 33 games in 86. His 85 and 88 teams rank in the top ten in batting average with .325 and .327 respectively.
Len started his Mount Carmel Area football career in the same auspicious way as his dad – by scoring a touchdown the first time he touched the ball. In his first start at defensive back, Len picked off a pass against Panther Valley and returned it 51 yards for a score and followed that up with another 45 yard INT for a TD against the Panthers. He would go on to establish a new career mark with 76 receptions in a career from 81-83. It still places him 5th all time at MCA – his career total of 1,191 yards ranked second only to Frank Niglio at the time and still ranks 5th today. His 12 TD receptions has him tied for 6th on the all time list. The ‘83 Tornado eleven qualified for the Eastern Conference Championships and would eventually lose the famous “mud bowl” to North Pocono by a 13-0 score.
Guarna began his baseball career at Mount Carmel Area as a freshman starter for coach Ed Kaczmarek and later for coach Frank Bolick Sr. His teams would post four consecutive winning seasons in going 54-25 and qualify for District’s in 1983 with a 17-5 record, winning 2 games before losing to Berwick 8-5. Len’s career was highlighted by a 6 RBI performance vs Southern Columbia in 1983, a 3-run homer to seal a victory vs Bishop Haffey in ‘83, and 4 for 4 performance against Tamaqua in ‘82.
Len, along with his father, become one of the few parent-child combos to earn induction into the Ed Romance Chapter. Guarna received a B.A. in Natural Sciences from John Hopkins in 1988 and followed that up with a B.S. in Pharmacy from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science in 1993. He currently resides in Elysburg with his wife Judi and 2 stepdaughters, Lauren and Ashton.