Hazleton Area HS Baseball: Welcome
Thursday, June 7
Friday, June 1
Cougars claim District 2, 6A baseball title
By Tom Fox / Published: June 2, 2018
Lightbox linkLightbox linkLightbox linkLightbox linkHUGHESTOWN — Sure, it would have been easy for Hazleton Area baseball players to hang their heads after a disappointing, one-run loss to Williamsport in the District 2/4 Class 6 Subregional final.
Yet, the Cougars still had the opportunity to walk away with district gold. And they cashed in on that very chance on a sweltering Friday afternoon.
Hazleton Area plated three runs in both the third and sixth innings, and a pair of Cougar pitchers held West Scranton to just three hits en route to a 7-3 victory in the District 2 Class 6A championship at Pittston Area High School.
“With the district championship on the line, we just wanted this as a team,” said Hazleton Area starting pitcher Brady Antolick, who allowed just two hits in 5.1 innings.
“That early run settled me down a little bit, but I knew they weren’t a bad team. You can’t throw fastballs, and I knew I would need some off-speed pitches. It was amazing to see our team come together.”
Sure, every player would have loved to walk off PNC Field with that District 2-4 subregional crown and the opportunity to compete in the PIAA playoffs. On that day, it just wasn’t meant to be.
That’s why Gino Cara gathered his boys earlier this week and talked about the journey in front of them.
“We were down. We lost a tough game to a good team in Williamsport,” Cara said. “We took a day off, and quite frankly, we couldn’t undo what was done. We lost a 4-3 game and we had to move on and work hard as a team. We still had the chance to win a district gold.”
The Cougars did just that.
Hazleton Area scored just four batters into the game on Gavin McGowan’s single to shallow center field, and then continued to tack on runs.
None were more important than in the sixth inning after West Scranton cut the Cougars’ lead to 4-3.
A James Vozar one-out triple down the
right-field line started the rally as back-to-back run-scoring hits by Alex Amentler and Devin Reed increased the lead to 6-3. Hazleton tacked on one more run on Gabriel Colyer’s single to center for a four-run edge heading into the seventh.
“I think we could have broken the game open a couple of times, but credit to them as well. They made some good plays, and kept themselves in the game,” Cara said.
West Scranton attempted to rally.
Joe Bruno reached base on an error to start the seventh, but it was a very short spark of life. Two pitches later, the Cougars turned a picture-perfect 6-4-3 double play, and relief pitcher Jerome Repetz struck out the game’s final batter to seal the victory.
That was the Invaders’ issue all game. They had runners on base, but couldn’t find that timely hit. West left seven runners stranded, five in scoring position.
Really, none hurt worse than in the fourth. Noah Worsnick was hit by an Antolick pitch, and Thomas Ivanoff followed with a single to center. The Invaders had two runners on and no outs, but the Lackawanna County school managed just one run on Jake Ciullo’s sacrifice fly.
“The guys worked hard, and gave ourselves plenty of chances. But we just didn’t quite have that timely hitting, and Hazleton did a better job of getting that done,” West Scranton coach Ron Simpson said. “We needed quite a few things to fall into place in that final inning for it to go our way. And that double play sure didn’t help us.”
Antolick, just a junior, pitched a gem. He allowed just two hits and struck out four. Repetz did well in relief, giving up one hit and keeping West Scranton off the scoreboard. McGowan had three hits, while Reed added a single and double.
“Brady threw well. His command early in the season just wasn’t there, but it is now,” Cara said. “Obviously, he’s a junior, so he will be back. The experience that this team gained in the last two weeks was tremendous. We played a lot of sophomores, and we had some good senior leadership to guide them through it. We have some talent here.”
District 2 Class 6A Championship At Pittston Area H.S.
WEST SCRANTON (3) — C. Merrifield ss 4 0 0 0, Bruno rf 3 0 1 0, Krysko lf 3 0 0 1, S Merrifield p 1 0 0 0, Dougherty dh 3 0 0 0, Worsnick c 0 0 0 0, Butka cr 0 1 0 0, Ivanoff 2b 2 0 1 0, Ciullo 1b 1 0 0 1, Forsette 3b 3 0 0 0, Walsh cf 3 1 1 1. Totals 23 3 3 3. HAZLETON AREA (7) — Amentler cf 3 2 1 1, Reed rf 4 2 2 1, Pietrzyk 1b 4 1 1 1, McGowan ss 3 1 3 2, Colyer 3b 4 0 1 1, Heim lf 3 0 0 0, DeGaetano dh 3 0 0 0, Gentile c 1 0 0 0, Pozniak cr 0 0 0 0, Vozar 2b 3 1 1 0. Totals 28 7 9 6.
West Scranton 001 101 0 — 3
Hazleton Area 103 003 x — 7
E — West Scranton 4, Hazleton Area 2. DP — Hazleton Area 1. LOB — West Scranton 7, Hazleton Area 7. 2B — Bruno, Reed, McGowan. 3B — Amentler, Pietrzyk, Vozar. SB — Butka 2, Bruno, Pozniak, McGowan. SF — Krysko, Ciullo.
West Scranton IP H R ER BB K
S. Merrifield L 4.0 6 4 4 2 5
Connor 1.1 2 3 3 0 0
Ivanoff 0.2 1 0 0 1 0
Hazleton Area IP H R ER BB K
Antolick W 5.1 2 3 2 2 4
Repetz S 1.2 1 0 0 0 1
HBP — by Antolick (Worsnick 2, Ivanoff); by Merrifield (Gentiel). T — 2:05.
Tuesday, April 17
HAHS Cougar Baseball would like to say Thanks to our Booster Club Supporters for their generous contributions this year. Check out the complete list of donors here.