Wyoming Area kept itself in Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 baseball title contention with a dominant performance in its regular-season finale Friday afternoon.
More important to coach Dean Carey is that even if the Warriors do not get help Monday, they gained some much-needed momentum – and likely a first-round home field – for the District 2 Class AAA playoffs when they dispatched of Lake-Lehman, 10-0, in five innings.
The Warriors finished 7-7 in the division and are a half-game behind Dallas, which can win the title Monday with a win over Tunkhannock. If Tunkhannock wins, Wyoming Area and Dallas will be tied for first.
“This gives us a step in the right direction for next Friday,” Carey said.
Among the possibilities when the district tournament opens Friday is a matchup between rivals Pittston Area and Wyoming Area. Pairings will be made official when teams complete their regular seasons, but that would become more likely if Pittston Area beats Crestwood Monday.
Pittston Area and Crestwood finished the week tied for fourth in WVC Division 1 at 6-8.
Wyoming Area 10
Five Lake-Lehman pitchers combined to issue a dozen walks, including three with the bases loaded, and Wyoming Area took advantage.
The Warriors used those bases-loaded walks and three RBI by Josh Kopcza to open an 8-0 lead in the first two innings.
Jeremy Zezza made the most of the fast start, efficiently working his way through a three-hit shutout on 60 pitches. He walked two and struck out two.
“He did a great job,” Carey said. “He got ahead of hitters. That’s the key.”
Corey Lescavage, who also drove in a run, and Tino Romanelli, who also had a sacrifice, each went 2-for-2 with two runs scored in the top two spots in the batting order.
“We needed to get some hits here and there and go into the playoffs with a positive vibe,” Carey said after his team fell out of first place earlier in the week. “We took a couple steps forward today.
“It’s nice to be able to build on that momentum.”
Wyoming Area built the lead to 10-0 in the third inning on a pinch-hit, RBI single by Justin Steinberg.
While that hit made the 10-run rule and an early finish possible, it also started a stretch in which Carey used a pinch hitter in every spot in the batting order.
“It’s always nice when you can play some of the guys who work hard in practice for you all year,” Carey said.
When the offense slowed down a little, including leaving the bases loaded in the fourth, Zezza made sure the Warriors were still done early. He retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced.
“We’re going to need his arm in the playoffs,” Carey said after Zezza’s second straight strong start.
Hazleton Area 12
Pittston Area 2
Tony Hernandez went the distance for Hazleton Area, striking out eight in Friday’s 12-2 romp.
Josh Razvillas had two hits for the Patriots.
Pittston Area 7, Wyoming Valley West 5
Pittston Area ended Wyoming Valley West’s eight-game WVC winning streak with a 7-5 victory in eight innings Wednesday.
Mike Carey started the eighth inning with a double. Josh Razvillas won the game with a two-run triple.
Josh Razvillas also had a single and three runs scored. Tyler McGarry and Kyle Turonis also had two hits each.
Danny Constantino held the Spartans to one run in three innings of relief to pick up the win.
The Patriots opened a 4-0 lead in the first 3 ½ innings, but the Spartans rallied to tie it 4-4 in the bottom of the fifth and 5-5 in the bottom of the sixth.
Wyoming Area 4
Dallas continued a surge from fourth to first place in less than two weeks with the fifth win in what is now a six-game streak to knock Wyoming Area out of the Division 2 lead, 7-4, Wednesday.
The Mountaineers held on to the division lead by blasting Holy Redeemer, 22-2, in four innings Friday.
Domenic Oliveri led Dallas Wednesday, going the distance and striking out seven while also adding a triple and two RBI to the offense.
“They started a little bit in the hole,” Carey said. “You have to tip your hats to them. They turned it around. They’re a tough team right now. They’re on a little bit of a roll.”
Bryant Clark had a triple for the only Wyoming Area extra-base hit and scored a run. Kyle Charney had a hit and drove in a run.
Pittston Area 0
Dave Marriggi threw a four-hit shutout with seven strikeouts Tuesday when Coughlin finished off Pittston Area in five innings, 10-0.
Eric Adamczyk and Chase Nowak drove in three runs each for the Crusaders.
Joe Champi, Michael Schwab, Kyle O’Fier and Pat McGinty had singles for the Patriots.
Wyoming Area 8
Winning pitcher Zach Lopatka doubled, drove in three runs and scored two Monday when Wyoming Area defeated host Tunkhannock, 8-2.
Tunkhannock entered the day just a game back with a chance to force a tie for first place in the division.
Lopatka worked out of trouble, including get a bases-loaded strikeout to end the fifth inning with a 7-2 lead. He allowed eight hits and three walks while striking out five, but limited the Tigers to two runs (one earned).
Jeremy Zezza had two hits, including an RBI double in the top of the first inning when Wyoming Area scored three runs. Evan Musto and Bryant Clark added two hits each.
Joey Gavenonis walked three times and singled in a run.
Wyoming Area 1
Jeremy Zezza had Wyoming Area’s only hit May 3 when the Warriors fell to Crestwood, 2-1.
Zezza also threw a two-hitter in the loss, giving up just one earned run while walking three and striking out eight.
Crestwood took a 2-0 lead in the fifth. Kyle Charney drove in Zach Lopatka with the only Wyoming Area run in the sixth.
The Pittston Area baseball team was priveleged to announce the money raised at each home game was donated to a local wounded service veteran, Captain T.J. Hromisin.
Captain Hromisin is a graduate of Seton Catholic High School and the ROTC program at the University of Scranton. He was commissioned at graduation. While in Iraq, Hromisin was blinded when shot by a sniper.
Currently, Captain Hromisin is a guest lecturer in the occupational Therapy department at the University of Scranton. He is also a member of the Vets Club.
Today, Captain Hromisin is accompanied by his parents Mary Ellen and Mr. Jromisin and his guide dog Liberty.