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Lakeland tops Hanover Area for Class 2A crown

Last updated: May 26. 2014 9:18PM - 3490 Views
By - dlevarse@civitasmedia.com



Hanover Area third baseman Jack Windt fires the ball to first against Lakeland in the District 2 Class 2A championship game at PNC Field in Moosic on Monday afternoon.
Hanover Area third baseman Jack Windt fires the ball to first against Lakeland in the District 2 Class 2A championship game at PNC Field in Moosic on Monday afternoon.
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MOOSIC — One more strike in the top of the seventh. One more inch to the left in the home half. Hanover Area couldn’t have been closer to striking district gold.


Lakeland had rallied in the final inning to take the lead in Monday’s District 2 Class 2A baseball championship, but the top-seeded Hawkeyes still had a pulse. Nick Deno took second on a wild pitch and a moment later, Mike Bugonowicz had the pitch he was looking for.


The senior smacked it down the line at third, the ball seemingly destined for the left corner at PNC Field and a game-tying double.


A flash of leather stole it away. A marvelous diving stab by Sean Pittack abruptly ended the game.


Lakeland 4, Hanover Area 3.


“It was just instinct,” said Pittack, a sophomore. “I just reached out. Best feeling ever.”


It wasn’t the only defensive gem on the day for the No. 10 Chiefs, who won all four tournament games as the lower seed. Second baseman Jimmy Hayes made a similar all-out grab to end the second and rob the Hawks of another run.


It allowed the Chiefs to hang around until the very end after coming out of the first inning with a 3-2 deficit.


Deno, the Hawkeyes starter, was excellent after shaking off some opening jitters. The Hanover Area senior struck out 11, including the first two hitters in the top of the seventh with his team still nursing that same one-run lead.


“He wanted the ball since the (quarterfinals) and I told him he’d get the opportunity,” Hawks coach Mike Zapotoski said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more from him today. … I was going to let him finish what he started.”


Josh Natale hustled out an infield single to keep the Chiefs alive in the seventh. Then, with a full count and his team one strike away from elimination, Shane Rivenburgh drew a walk as Natale stole third.


James Blevins and Hayes then followed up with back-to-back RBI singles to put Lakeland in front. Bugonowicz took over on the mound for the third out to send it to the bottom of the seventh.


Mike Blazaskie singled with one out and was erased on a Deno fielder’s choice. Deno moved into scoring position on a wild pitch and was poised to come home before Pittack’s airborne snag.


“Just a heck of a play,” Zapotoski said. “I really couldn’t even see the ball off the bat. They were guarding the line, he laid out and made the play.


“They played well, we played well. They had a few more clutch hits than we did. We had some opportunities, but we didn’t get the job done at the plate.”


Lakeland starter Chris Roche had thrown a no-hitter against Mountain View in the quarterfinals, but the Hawks immediately ended his impressive run when their first batter of the game, Christian Pack, singled.


That started a rally that saw Hanover erase a quick 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead after one. Blazaskie brought home Pack with a single before John Wickiser scored from third on a wild pitch. Then, with runners at the corners, Deno drew a throw to second on a steal attempt, freeing up Blazaskie to race home from third and score the go-ahead run.


It was all the Hawks managed against Roche, who held them to six singles in a complete-game victory.


Pack and Blazaskie each finished with two hits apiece to lead Hanover Area, which was looking for its first district title since 1993. An impressive senior class that included seven everyday starters managed to win 40 straight WVC games and completed three straight unbeaten regular seasons.


“We hadn’t made this (district finals) game in 21 years,” Zapotoski said. “Before we took over (as a staff) seven years ago, the team lost 50-some games. Now this senior class didn’t lose a conference game.


“I think it’s a one-of-a-kind class. You’re not going to see that come through this way. It’s going to be tough from here on out.”


***


Lakeland 4, Hanover Area 3

District 2 Class 2A championship

Lakeland`AB`R`H`BI`2B`3B`HR


Josh Natale ss`3`2`1`0`0`0`0


S. Rivenburgh 1b`3`2`2`1`0`1`0


James Blevins c`4`0`1`1`0`0`0


Jimmy Hayes 2b`4`0`1`1`0`0`0


Chris Roche p`4`0`0`0`0`0`0


R.J. Longstreet rf`0`0`0`0`0`0`0


C. Selvenis dh`2`0`0`0`0`0`0


Sean Pittack 3b`3`0`1`1`0`0`0


Jordan Art lf`3`0`0`0`0`0`0


Jared Bomba cf`3`0`1`0`0`0`0


Totals`29`4`7`4`0`1`0


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


Christian Pack ss`4`1`2`0`0`0`0


John Wickiser cf`3`1`1`0`0`0`0


Mike Sulcoski c`4`0`1`0`0`0`0


Mike Blazaskie lf`3`1`2`1`0`0`0


Nick Deno p-1b`1`0`0`0`0`0`0


M. Bugonowicz 1b-p`4`0`0`0`0`0`0


Jack Windt 3b`3`0`0`0`0`0`0


Matt Kuhl rf`3`0`0`0`0`0`0


J. Kwiatkowski 2b`0`0`0`0`0`0`0


Jake Peters dh`2`0`0`0`0`0`0


Mike Bierle pr`0`0`0`0`0`0`0


Totals`27`3`6`1`0`0`0


Lakeland`200`000`2`—`4


Hanover Area`300`000`0`—`3


Lakeland`IP`H`R`ER`BB`K


Roche (W, 2-0)`7.0`6`3`3`5`2


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


Deno (L, 0-1)`6.2`7`4`3`3`11


Bugonowicz`0.1`0`0`0`0`1


 
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