Last updated: May 14. 2014 11:46PM - 2091 Views
By - psokoloski@civitasmedia.com



Hazleton Area pitcher Dante Biasi (2) catches a line drive hit toward the mound in the first inning of Wednesday's WVC baseball playoff game against Berwick.
Hazleton Area pitcher Dante Biasi (2) catches a line drive hit toward the mound in the first inning of Wednesday's WVC baseball playoff game against Berwick.
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HANOVER TWP. — As Dave Klein was making an early fast break from first base, Joe Baran drilled a deep double to center field that easily brought his hard-charging teammate home with first run.


That hit-and-run blast was just the first sign something big was happening for Hazleton Area on Wednesday.


Baran accounted for four runs, the Biasi “Bash Brothers” Sal and Dante combined to drive home five runs and score two more and Hazleton Area hammered its way to the Wyoming Valley Conference Division I baseball title by blasting Berwick, 12-2 at Hanover Area High School.


“We came out with simple approaches and starting hitting the baseball,” Baran said. “We usually score five runs in the first, then we don’t score another run until the seventh.”


Not Wednesday. The Cougars followed a five-run first inning with one in the second and three more in the third and fifth innings to end the game early by the 10-run rule. Of Hazleton Area’s 12 hits, four were doubles and all of them either produced or led to runs.


“I don’t know what it was,” said Hazleton Area coach Gino Cara, whose team will be the No. 2 seed and face either Williamsport or Wallenpaupack in next Wednesday’s District 2 Class 4A playoff opener. “We’ve gotten out of the chute early before, then we stop scoring.”


Maybe it was the presence of sophomore Dante Biasi, back on the mound — and more importantly, in the batting order — after missing a week’s worth of action after suffering a pulled hamstring.


Sal Biasi’s younger brother picked up the victory, running his record to 4-0 while scattering seven hits and striking out three during his five innings of work.


He also dropped down a bunt single — Hazleton Area’s third straight hit to start the game — and cleared the bases with a clutch, two-out, three-run double in the third inning. That came after Berwick, which will be the No. 3 seed and host Lake-Lehman in the District 2 Class 3A playoffs Friday, had pulled within 6-2 with a pair of runs in the second.


“That’s big. And that’s with two outs,” Cara said. “To come and score three runs right after they answered, that was big. One of the thing that helps us is having Dante Biasi back in our lineup. He was 50-50 (to play) today. He gets our other hitters step back into positions in the order where there’s more confidence.”


Dante Biasi’s big hit in the third — a shot that sailed just in front of the center field wall, also did a little more for Hazleton Area. It allowed the Cougars to shoot for ending the game early by the 10-run rule.


“Felt pretty good, being that was my first game back,” Dante Biasi said. “I was excited when the ball got over his head. Our last game against Coughlin, we started slow. We knew we just had to come out and play.”


The play that made it a short day was generated by a classic, heads-up play from Penn State-bound senior Sal Biasi.


He drove home his second run of the game with an RBI single to left field. Then, with the bases loaded, Baran scored from third on a wild pitch — and Biasi followed him home from second on the same play, never stopping while rounding third and scoring on an errant throw to the plate.


“We actually talked about that, I said, “I’m not stopping you,’ ” Cara said of a conversation with Sal Biasi before the pitch. “Their pitcher was throwing a knuckleball. They (the Bulldogs) called time out, and with all the room to the backstop here, I said, “If you can read it, you can go, I’m not stopping you.’ “


Not much stopped the Cougars from claiming its second Division I title in the last three years.


Dave Klein led off the game with an opposite-field single and scored a few pitches later on Baran’s double. Sal Biasi’s sacrifice fly brought home Baran, and before the first inning was done, Kyle Rogers doubled home a run and scored on a wild pitch and Mitch O’Donnell’s run-scoring single sent emergency catcher Jeremy Budgeon scampering across the plate.


Budgeon’s been behind the plate for Hazleton Area’s past two games, because regular catcher and one of the Cougars’ best hitters Robbie John is out with an arm injury and his backup, Robert Pietrczyk, suffered a shoulder injury last weekend.


“Jeremy Budgeon, he’s kind of our emergency catcher. And this was an emergency,” Cara said, crediting Budgeon for a superb job.


***


HAZLETON AREA`AB`R`H`RBI`2B`3B`HR


Dave Klein rf`3`2`2`0`0`0`0


Joe Baran cf`2`3`1`1`1`0`0


Dante Biasi p`4`0`2`3`1`0`0


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


Chris Panzarella ss`4`1`1`0`0`0`0


Kyle Rogers lf`4`1`2`2`1`0`0


Jeremy Budgeon c`1`1`0`0`0`0`0


Tommy Sharp 1b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0


Mitch O’Donnell 3b`2`2`2`1`0`0`0


Totals`25`12`12`9`4`0`0


BERWICK`AB`R`H`RBI`2B`3B`HR


Jake Jones p,lf`3`0`1`0`0`0`0


Alex Klinger cf`2`0`1`0`0`0`0


Anthony Melito ss`3`0`1`0`0`0`0


Jordan Stout c`3`0`1`0`1`0`0


Zach Andress rf,p`2`0`0`0`0`0`0


Max Melito lf`0`0`0`0`0`0`0


Eric Varner p`0`0`0`0`0`0`0


Adam Trivilpiece rf`0`0`0`0`0`0`0


Paul Jay Wiegand dh`3`0`1`0`0`0`0


Cody Talanca 1b`2`1`1`0`0`0`0


Zach Kyttle 2b`2`1`1`0`1`0`0


Hunter Stout 3b`2`0`0`1`0`0`0


Totals`22`2`7`1`2`0`0


Hazleton Area`513`03` - 12


Berwick`020`00` - 2


HAZLETON AREA`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO


Biasi, W (4-0)`5.0`7`2`2`2`3


BERWICK`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO


Jones, L (3-1)`o.2`5`5`5`2`0


Varner`2.1`5`4`4`2`0


Andress`2`2`3`2`3`1

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