Last updated: April 03. 2014 11:53PM - 4518 Views
By - dlevarse@civitasmedia.com

Mitch O'Donnell (left) and Hazleton Area were aggressive on the basepaths in the team's WVC opener Thursday. The Cougars stole seven bases in a 13-2 win over Wyoming Valley West.
Mitch O'Donnell (left) and Hazleton Area were aggressive on the basepaths in the team's WVC opener Thursday. The Cougars stole seven bases in a 13-2 win over Wyoming Valley West.
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KINGSTON — Four straight RBI singles in the first inning. Almost enough to make a baseball team forget about a miserably long winter that’s just starting to thaw out.

For Hazleton Area, Thursday’s game was just the third time outside this year and the first against a Wyoming Valley Conference opponent.

It didn’t show.

The Cougars have high expectations in 2014, and they lived up to them in the league opener with a decisive 13-2 win over defending district champ Wyoming Valley West in five innings.

With two outs in the top of the first, Hazleton Area (1-0 WVC) took control with consecutive run-scoring singles from Dante Biasi, Chris Panzarella, Mitch O’Donnell and Thomas Sharp.

“Even though we’re young, a lot of these guys played last year,” Hazleton Area coach Gino Cara said. “They know the system.”

The Cougars rattled off 14 hits — all singles — with three from O’Donnell and two apiece from Biasi, Panzarella and Sharp. All four players drove in two runs while Robbie John finished with three RBI.

Starting pitcher Tony Hernandez allowed just one hit and struck out three. Behind him, O’Donnell flashed the leather by spearing two line drives from his spot at third.

And the confident Cougars sent a message on the basepaths, stealing seven bags on nine attempts over the five innings.

That figures to be a hallmark of this year’s team.

“I’m not going to try and hide anything — we’re going to play aggressive baseball,” Cara said. “We have athletic kids that have some ability, and we’re going to try and put pressure on. We had the baserunners to do it today, and we had a lead. That makes it easier.

“This may be my most athletic team. Up and down, we’ve got speed.”

The Cougars were even missing some of that speed as Penn State recruit Sal Biasi continues to recover from a high ankle sprain he suffered last month while leading the basketball team to the second round of the state tournament.

Sal Biasi, who sports a fastball that has touched the mid-90s, is available to pitch for the Cougars, but they aren’t about to rush him back into the batter’s box. Especially not with soggy fields still providing a hazard throughout the county.

The senior had warmed up to replace Hernandez if needed, but the Cougars starter worked out of a jam after walking the bases loaded in the third. Spartans senior Jeremy Sabecky drove in a run with an infield single and his speed forced a high throw to first that sailed out of play, scoring a second run.

That made it 9-2 at the time. Hernandez shut the door from there, retiring the next three batters. His offense tacked on four more runs to end the game after five innings.

For the Spartans (0-2), it capped off a tough two days. A 2-2 game headed into the seventh on Wednesday against Crestwood turned into a 7-2 loss.

A silver lining for Valley West is that last year’s team started out 0-3 in league play and was still the last WVC team standing, winning the district title and reaching the state quarterfinals.

“We’re inexperienced, and they have to learn,” Spartans coach John Milius said. “They have to learn from their mistakes real fast, otherwise it’s going to be a long season for us.

“Down the road it’ll be a different story, hopefully.”

Cara and the Cougars are expecting that, especially when the two teams meet again on May 5.

“That’s what I’m telling my team now,” Cara said. “If you think it’s going to be this type of game (next time), then you guys should quit right now. Because it will not be. John Milius always has a good team, and his teams always get better.”

NOTES: Hazleton Area junior standout Joe Baran left the game in the middle of the fifth. Baran, the Cougars’ top hitter a year ago, appeared to hurt his right hand on a successful steal attempt in the top of the frame.

Coughlin 8, Pittston Area 7

Crusaders freshman Chase Nowak continued an impressive start to his varsity career, going 2-for-3 with a triple and three RBI in a win over rival Pittston Area.

Nowak also took the mound with two outs in the seventh and ended the game with a strikeout to earn the save. Coughlin (1-1) also got two hits apiece from Kyle Lupas and Eric Adamczyk.

Senior Joe Champi made a strong WVC debut for the Patriots, going 3-for-4 with four RBI, a double and a home run. Tyler McGarry went 4-for-4.

Hanover Area 5, Nanticoke 3

The Hawkeyes (1-0) scored their five runs in the first two innings and fended off a three-run comeback attempt in the sixth to top the Trojans (1-1). Nick Deno (2 RBI) and Mike Sulcoski (double, RBI) both finished 2-for-3 in the win.

Hanover Area’s John Wicksier (8K) and Nanticoke’s Dan Jeffrey both went the distance on the mound.

MMI Prep 6, Meyers 3

Cory Rogers allowed just one hit in 5.2 innings of relief and struck out six to preserve the win for the Preppers (1-0) in the WVC opener for both teams.

MMI’s Ed Herbener went 2-for-2 with a double and two RBI. Meyers (0-1) got a single and an RBI from Nick Sisko.

Wyoming Area 5, Holy Redeemer 2

Senior Zach Lopatka held the Royals to two hits through six innings, striking out four. Tino Romanelli went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI at the plate for the Warriors (1-1). Eric Kerr singled and scored a run for Holy Redeemer (0-1).

The Warriors will take on Dunmore at noon Saturday at PNC Field in Moosic as part of the Strike Out Cancer Weekend series.

Northwest 12, GAR 1

The Rangers (1-1) shook off an extra-innings loss on Wednesday to knock off the Grenadiers (0-2) on the road in five innings.



Hazleton Area`AB`R`H`BI`2B`3B`HR

Dave Klein rf-cf`4`1`2`0`0`0`0

Joe Baran cf`3`3`1`0`0`0`0

Jeremy Budgeon lf`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Tony Hernandez p`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Kyle Rogers dh`2`2`1`0`0`0`0

Robbie John c`2`2`1`3`0`0`0

Dante Biasi lf-rf`4`1`2`2`0`0`0

Chris Panzarella ss`4`2`2`2`0`0`0

Mitch O’Donnell 3b`4`1`3`2`0`0`0

Thomas Sharp 1b`3`0`2`2`0`0`0

Adan Reinoso pr`0`1`0`0`0`0`0

Seth Porpiglia 2b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Carlos Cordero 2b`0`0`0`0`0`0`0


Valley West`AB`R`H`BI`2B`3B`HR

Jeremy Sabecky cf`3`0`1`1`0`0`0

Chris Lupole 3b`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Ryan Hogan rf`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Evan McCue 1b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Brandon Reyes c`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Bill Gregory 2b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Logan Zavada p`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Frank Brodi p`1`1`0`0`0`0`0

Mark Baran lf`1`1`0`0`0`0`0

B. Techmanski ss`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Tyler Yankosky dh`1`0`0`0`0`0`0


Hazleton Area“423`13`—`13

Valley West“002`00`—`2

Hazleton Area`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Hernandez (W, 1-0)`5.0`1`2`1`3`3

Valley West`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Zavada (L, 0-1)`2.2`11`9`9`2`2



Pittston Area`AB`R`H`BI`2B`3B`HR

Josh Razvillas rf`3`2`1`0`0`0`0

Tyler McGarry c`4`3`4`1`0`0`0

Joe Champi 1b`4`2`3`4`1`0`1

Michael Schwab p-lf`4`0`1`2`1`0`0

Michael Delaney cf`4`0`0`0`0`0`0

James Emmett 3b`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Pat McGinty ss`3`0`1`0`0`0`0

Matt Mott 2b`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Michael Carey lf`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Jake Faggotti p`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Kyle O’Fier ph`1`0`0`0`0`0`0



Dave Parsnik lf`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Mike Wozniak ss`4`0`0`0`0`0`0

Dave Marriggi cf`2`1`0`0`0`0`0

Kyle Lupas 1b`2`3`2`0`0`0`0

Eric Adamczyk c`3`1`2`1`1`0`0

Brandon Butry 2b`3`1`1`1`0`0`0

Chase Nowak 3b-p`3`1`2`3`0`1`0

E.J. Slavish rf`3`1`1`0`0`0`0

Adam Giovanelli p`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Dave Ceklosky dh`3`0`0`0`0`0`0


Pittston Area`301`010`2`—`7


Pittston Area`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Schwab (L, 0-1)`4.0`7`7`7`1`2



Giovanelli (W, 1-0)`6.2`10`7`6`1`5

Nowak (S)`0.1`0`0`0`0`1



Tyler Myers 2b`4`0`0`0`0`0`0

Steve Kreitzer rf`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Mike Malshefski cf`3`1`2`0`0`0`0

Dan Jeffrey p`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

M. Romanowski dh`3`1`1`0`0`0`0

Kyle Pokrinchak lf`3`1`1`1`0`0`0

Alec Norton 3b`2`0`1`1`0`0`0

Joe Olszyk 1b`3`0`1`0`0`0`0

F. Marcinkowski c`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Kyle Rosick ss`3`0`1`0`0`0`0


Hanover Area`AB`R`H`BI`2B`3B`HR

Christian Pack ss`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

John Wickiser p`1`1`0`1`0`0`0

Mike Sulcoski c`3`1`2`1`1`0`0

Mike Blazaskie lf`3`1`1`0`1`0`0

Nick Deno 2b`3`1`2`2`0`0`0

Mike Bugonowicz 1b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Jack Windt 3b`3`0`2`1`0`0`0

Matt Kuhl cf`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

John Morgan rf`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Jake Peters dh`3`1`2`0`0`0`0



Hanover Area`410`000`0`—`5


Jeffrey (L, 0-1)`7.0`9`5`5`2`0

Hanover Area`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Wickiser (W, 1-0)`7.0`7`3`1`0`8



Cal Lisman p`4`0`0`0`0`0`0

Cris Cabada 2b`3`0`0`0`0`0

Matt DeMarco cf-p`2`1`0`0`0`0`0

Jose DeLone rf`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Anthony Vasiliou dh`2`1`0`0`0`0`0

Kyle McHale 1b-p`2`1`0`1`0`0`0

Keith Ostrowski ss`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

O.J. Almonte c`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Nick Sisko lf`2`0`1`1`0`0`0

Ryan Gilgallon 3b`2`0`1`0`0`0`0



Jared Dasher cf`4`1`1`0`0`0`0

Cory Rogers ss-p`2`1`1`0`0`0`0

Charlie Karchner p`3`1`0`0`0`0`0

Alec Andes 1b`1`2`1`1`0`0`0

Sam Harman c`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Ed Herbener rf`2`0`2`2`1`0`0

R.J. Kupsho 3b`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Kisan Patel lf`3`1`1`0`0`0`0

Nick Young 2b`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Ibby Bains dh`2`0`0`0`0`0`0



MMI Prep`311`010`x`—`6


Lisman (L, 0-1)`2.0`4`4`4`1`1





Rogers (W, 1-0)`5.2`1`1`1`2`6


Holy Redeemer`AB`R`H`BI`2B`3B`HR

Jeremy Worlinsky 2b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

John Yurkoski 3b`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Matt Dacey 1b`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Eric Kerr p`3`1`1`0`0`0`0

Jim Strickland ss`2`1`0`0`0`0`0

Matt Pawlowski lf`3`0`1`0`0`0`0

Justin Renfer c`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Vito Malacari ph`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

B. Sandrowicz rf`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Andrew Semanek ph`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

Jason Hoggarth cf`3`0`0`0`0`0`0


Wyoming Area`AB`R`H`BI`2B`3B`HR

T. Romanelli lf`3`1`2`1`1`0`0

C. Lescavage ss`3`0`1`0`0`0`0

Zach Lopatka p`2`0`0`1`0`0`0

Fred Cefalo c`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Joey Gavenonis dh`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Tyler Mitchell 1b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Ryan Kaslavage pr`0`1`0`0`0`0`0

Nick Gushka 2b`1`1`0`0`0`0`0

Tyler Dougherty ph`1`0`0`0`0`0`0

Kyle Charney rf`1`1`1`2`0`0`0

Justin Steinberg ph`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Marty Michaels 3b`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Bryant Clark cf`1`1`0`0`0`0`0


Holy Redeemer`000`200`0`—`2

Wyoming Area`002`210`x`—`5

Holy Redeemer`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Kerr (L, 0-1)`4.0`2`4`4`4`4



Wyoming Area`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Lopatka (W, 1-0)`6.0`2`2`0`2`4

Zezza (S)`1.0`0`0`0`0`1

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