Patriots press top seed to final out

June 27th, 2015 1:22 am

First Posted: 5/23/2013

Wyoming Area split with a pair of recent state champions.

Pittston Area, as the lowest-seeded team still in action, pressed the current top seed into the final inning.

Both the Warriors and Patriots were eliminated from the District 2 Class AAA baseball semifinals in tense semifinal games Thursday after putting together impressive offensive efforts to get through the semifinals Tuesday.

It took a huge inning by 2009 state champion Abington Heights and a clutch defensive play in the final inning by top-seeded Valley View to bring the local high school baseball season to an end.

Abington Heights 9

Wyoming Area 7

Wyoming Area fell victim to nine-run inning by Abington Heights, but still battled back to make things tense for the Comets late.

The Warriors, who let a 5-0 lead get away, rallied to score twice in the sixth inning and put two men on base in the bottom of the seventh before having their season come to an end.

“We never gave up,” Wyoming Area coach Chick Andrewscavage said. “We were going until the last inning when we got two guys on with two out.”

Abington Heights reached the final with a big fourth inning. “It was their time,” Andrewscavage said. “The rest of the game, they only had one hit.”

Kevin Elwell had a double and triple during the inning and Dante Pasqualichio followed him each time with RBI singles. Elwell scored and drove in a run in each of his at-bats in the inning. J

osh Slocum started it with a double, then Elwell and Pasqualichio followed.

The first six Abington Heights batters reached base to knock out two Wyoming Area pitchers.

“There’s nothing you can say about it,” Andrewscavage said. “If our kids didn’t play well, that would be another thing, but they just hit every spot on the field.”

Wyoming Area took a 5-0 lead in the third inning on just two hits. Nick O’Brien had an RBI single for one of his three hits in the game and Bart Chupka followed the second hit batsman of the inning by delivering a three-run double.

O’Brien and Eric Walkowiak had back-to-back, two-out singles in the sixth and scored on an error. Abington Heights side-arm pitcher Dave Manasek fought through a complete game, striking out 11 while allowing six hits, three walks and three earned runs.

“Our kids hit the ball well,” Andrewscavage said. “That pitcher was tough, coming from underneath at times.”

Zach Lopatka gave up two hits and just an unearned run as the last of three pitchers in the fifth inning then kept the Comets hitless over the final three innings.

The loss ended a season in which Wyoming Area fell a game short of first place in Division 2 of the Wyoming Valley Conference and a win short of the district championship game.

“We seemed to hover around the .500 mark at the beginning of the season, then they started to believe,” Andrewscavage said. “They always worked hard.”

Wyoming Area finished 11-6.

Valley View 3

Pittston Area 1

Right fielder Pat Houlihan made a running catch before colliding with the fence on a potential game-tying blast by Josh Razvillas in the seventh inning Thursday, allowing Valley View to hang on for a 3-1 win over Pittston Area.

Pittston Area coach Paul Zaffuto said he thought Razvillas might have produced a go-ahead, three-run homer while the ball was in the air. Even if the ball fell in at the fence, the Patriots would have likely tied it.

The 12th-seeded Patriots, who managed two earlier district wins, came on strong against pitcher Collin Ferguson, who had held them hitless through four innings.

Errors cost Pittston Area as pitcher Matt Mott yielded just one earned run while throwing a six-hitter.

Felix Mascelli had a single and double to lead the Pittston Area offense. Cody Rowan drove in the only run in the top of the sixth inning. Valley View took a 2-0 lead when its first two batters, Liam Callejas and Connor Kranick, scored. Kranick finished 2-for-3 with two runs.

Pittston Area finished 6-12.

Wyoming Area 10

Berwick 4

Zack Lopatka and Joe Gavenonis drove in four runs each Tuesday when Wyoming Area pounded host Berwick, 10-4, in the quarterfinals.

The sixth-seeded Warriors scored in each of the first four innings to take a 10-2 lead on the third-seeded Bulldogs, who won a state championship in 2008.

“Berwick is always one of the class programs in our area,” Andrewscavage said. “They have a tough team and we went down there and scored four innings in a row.”

After not allowing a hit in the first round against GAR, Berwick had trouble with Wyoming Area from the start.

Lopatka finished 3-for-4.

O’Brien, who had a triple, and Jordan Zezza each added two hits and scored twice. Walkowiak drove in three runs.

Gavenonis hit a home run.

Jake Granteed went the distance. He gave up 11 hits, but limited Berwick to four runs by striking out seven while walking three.

Pittston Area 11

Crestwood 10

Jordan Houseman singled to start the bottom of the fifth inning, then doubled for the last of five straight hits that powered an eight-run comeback in the inning and carried Pittston Area past Crestwood, 11-10, in the quarterfinals Tuesday.

Crestwood had just stretched its lead to 8-3 with four runs in the top of the inning.

“I have confidence in all of my teammates, no matter what,” Houseman said. “We just executed our coach’s plan.”

Three infield errors by the Comets gave the Patriots a chance. Then the hits started. Michael Delaney, Pat McGinty, Razvillas and Mott provided consecutive singles. Then, Houseman added his two-run double.

Mott became the winning pitcher after getting two outs in the fifth inning. That put him in the batting order for his first plate appearance of the season.

“He took batting practice all season,” Zaffuto said. “That was his first at-bat of the season and he was kind of looking at me like ‘are you going to take me out?’ “I said ‘no buddy, you were smashing it in practice. It’s your time. Go ahead.’”

Justin Glasgow added another timely performance, working the final two innings for the save.

That allowed Mott to work the district semifinal with top pitcher Michael Schwab exhausted after starting the Crestwood game. Razvillas, Houseman and Delaney all finished 3-for-4.

Razvillas scored twice and drove in three runs. Delaney scored twice. McGinty added two hits.