Pittston Area Little League softball team has strong start at states

By Tom Robinson - For Sunday Dispatch - and John Erzar - jerzar@timesleader.com
Maura Mihalka of Pittston runs on a hit against Back Mountain. Aimee Dilger|Times Leader - Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch
Gianna Adams pitches against Back Mountain. - Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Pittston Area made it all the way to the winners’ bracket final of the state tournament before suffering its second loss of the season.

Even with that 8-1 loss to Tunkhannock Thursday, Pittston Area is the last of three teams still in contention for the state title.

Behind the pitching of Gianna Adams, Pittston Area responded to its only previous loss with three straight wins – one in the Section 5 championship game and two straight to open the state tournament.

Following the second loss, Pittston Area needed a win in the losers’ bracket final, followed by two straight victories over Tunkhannock to win the state championship and land a berth in the East Regionals that are being hosted by Jenkins Township.

Pittston Area 9

Avon Grove 1

Gianna Adams struck out 11 Wednesday when Pittston Area won the state winners’ bracket semifinal at the Cain Township Little League in Chester County.

Olivia Walter had an RBI double and a single to lead the offense. Cassie Hintze also had a double and single, Maura Mihalka had two hits and Ava Callahan had an RBI double.

Pittston Area 15

Fairchance 0

Gianna Adams threw a no-hitter and was one strike from a perfect game Tuesdasy when Pittston Area opened the state tournament with a three-inning rout.

Adams struck out seven and issued one walk.

Marina Antal had a double and single while Katie Wywoda, Ava Callahan and Olivia Walter also had two hits each.

Pittston Area 3

Back Mountain 0

OLD FORGE – Pittston Area did not have much time to dwell on the July 6 loss in its first chance to claim the Section 5 title.

Instead, it took care of the second it had earned by getting through the winners’ bracket.

Less than 24 hours after giving up six runs in the sixth inning, Pittston Area shut down Back Mountain’s offense to earn its spot in the state tournament.

Back Mountain managed just three hits in the July 7 game, but did have four runners get into scoring position where they were stranded by the Pittston Area defense and pitcher Gianna Adams.

“We tried to get them pumped up last night, even thought they were down,” Pittston Area manager Mike Callahan said after the win. “We met again this morning and told them they had to forget about the day before and move on.”

Pittston Area scored twice in the first inning.

Ava Callahan walked with two out, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on an Adams single.

Marina Antal then doubled to the fence to score Adams.

Antal scored in the sixth on an RBI groundout by Emma Rinaldi after reaching on an error.

Back Mountain 9

Pittston Area 3

Pittston Area led a 3-0 lead get away when Back Mountain got all nine of its runs and all nine of its hits over the final three innings to avoid earlier elimination.

Olivia Walter went 3-for-3 for Pittston Area, driving in one run and scoring another in the second inning.

Isabella Giardina and Marina Antal led off the first two innings by singling. Giardina and Jaylee Jenkins, Antal’s special pinch runner, scored to help build the lead.

Giardina took second on one groundout, stole third and scored on another groundout by Ava Callahan.

Maura Mihalka of Pittston runs on a hit against Back Mountain. Aimee Dilger|Times Leader
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_TTL070718Bmtn-softball2-1.jpgMaura Mihalka of Pittston runs on a hit against Back Mountain. Aimee Dilger|Times Leader Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

Gianna Adams pitches against Back Mountain.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_TTL070718Bmtn-softball5-1.jpgGianna Adams pitches against Back Mountain. Aimee Dilger | Sunday Dispatch

By Tom Robinson

For Sunday Dispatch

and John Erzar

jerzar@timesleader.com

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at sd@psdispatch.com.

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at sd@psdispatch.com.