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Last updated: May 26. 2014 3:21PM - 3706 Views
By - dlevarse@timesleader.com



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MOOSIC — The trip to the mound was a short one.


Hazleton Area coach Gino Cara went out to check on his sophomore pitcher at the biggest moment of the Cougars season. Bases loaded, one out, protecting a two-run lead in sixth inning of the district championship game at PNC Field.


Dante Biasi didn’t flinch.


The emerging lefty went right to the fastball against Delaware Valley’s No. 3 and No. 4 hitters, blowing heaters by both of them for a pair of strikeouts to end the inning.


It was the capper to one of the best outings by a WVC pitcher this year, a 3-0 shutout victory in Monday’s District 2-4 Class 4A championship that gave the Cougars their first crown since 2005.


“I just wanted to throw strikes,” Biasi said, nonchalantly, of the bases-loaded situation. “I know we have a good defense and that if they put a ball down, we’d make the play.”


It’s that calm demeanor that convinced Cara to give him the start.


“Did he realize the bases were loaded?” Cara said with a laugh. “You’re never sure.


“No, but that’s a big stage. A big-game situation. Nothing rattles him. Nothing. He’s as poised a sophomore as I’ve ever seen. … He threw a gem. He threw great.”


Biasi pitched into the seventh and struck out eight for the victory. When the top-seeded Warriors led off the seventh with a single, Cara went to Sal Biasi for the save. The Penn State recruit struck out two more and induced a foul-out to end the game.


Sal Biasi, wearing two gold medals around his neck after also leading the Cougars to a district title in basketball over the winter, said it was the best he’s seen from his younger brother.


“Oh yeah, he was tough,” Sal Biasi said. “His location, his velocity. He pitched great.”


The brothers combined for the only run the Cougars would need in the top of the first. Dante and Robbie John each drew a two-out walk against Warriors ace Coty Amant. Sal then sent a 2-2 pitch through the left side just past a diving infielder for an RBI single.


Chris Panzarella would tack on another run in the fourth, scoring from third while pinch runner Jordi Arias had things tied up in a rundown between first and second.


Through five innings, Dante Biasi had faced just one batter over the minimum, thanks in part to John’s work behind the plate, gunning down two runners on the base paths.


But he ran into trouble in the sixth, and his first walk of the day loaded the bases for Delaware Valley.


“Basically I asked him, ‘You got this?’ ” Cara said. “He said, ‘I got it.’ Well, OK. Get ‘em. That’s all I said.”


It was enough. Dante Biasi set down Justin O’Dell on three pitches and then rang up his mound counterpart, Amant, on a full count to end the threat.


“We did everything we could to prepare the guys (for his fastball), but hats off to Hazleton and that pitching staff,” Delaware Valley coach Dave Peters said. “All the reports said they had some great arms, and we definitely saw two of them today.”


It was the Cougars’ first district title under Cara after some close calls, including a loss in the 2010 finals to Scranton.


Up next will be a first-round game in the state tournament against the District 3 runner-up on Monday at a time and D2 site to be determined.


“It’s a nice change,” Cara said. “We’ve been on the doorstep, and this time we won the game. We’ll just have to see where we go from here. It feels really good.”


***


Hazleton Area 3, Delaware Valley 0

District 2-4 Class 4A championship

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


Dave Klein rf`3`0`0`0`0`0`0


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


Dante Biasi p`3`1`0`0`0`0`0


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


Robbie John c`2`0`0`0`0`0`0


Sal Biasi 2b-p`3`0`1`1`0`0`0


Chris Panzarella ss`2`1`0`0`0`0`0


Kyle Rogers lf`3`1`2`0`0`1`0


Tommy Sharp 1b`3`0`1`0`0`0`0


Jordi Arias pr`0`0`0`0`0`0`0


Mitch O’Donnell 3b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0


Totals`24`3`5`2`0`1`0


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


Joe Addvensky cf`3`0`0`0`0`0`0


Matt Rivera ss`2`0`1`0`0`0`0


Justin O’Dell rf`3`0`0`0`0`0`0


Coty Amant p`3`0`0`0`0`0`0


Lawrence Cicileo lf`3`0`2`0`1`0`0


Johnny Portugal 2b`3`0`0`0`0`0`0


Tim Volavka 3b`3`0`0`0`0`0`0


Jeff Hupfer 1b`3`0`1`0`0`0`0


Kyle Clark c`2`0`0`0`0`0`0


Totals`25`0`4`0`1`0`0


Hazleton Area`100`100`1`—`3


Delaware Valley`000`000`0`—`0


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


D. Biasi (W, 1-0)`6+`4`0`0`1`8


S. Biasi (S)`1.0`0`0`0`0`2


Delaware Valley`IP`H`R`ER`BB`K


Amant (L, 1-1)`7.0`5`3`3`4`3


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