When Abington Heights was in need of a key hit, Matt Heckman delivered.
The Comets’ shortstop drove in two runs with a single in the bottom of the third inning to break a scoreless tie. Designated hitter Zach Spangenberg added an RBI double and pinch hitter Matt Hughes an RBI single, and Dave Manasek pitched seven shutout innings in Abington Heights’ 4-0 win over Tunkhannock in a District 2 Class AAA first-round playoff game May 17.
“We’ve kind of been struggling with the big hits,” Abington Heights head coach Bill Zalewski said, “and the big hits have been starting to come the last couple weeks. I think we’re just getting hot at the right time, hopefully.”
Manasek was effective from the start, retiring eight of the first nine Tigers’ batters, including three on strikeouts.
“That might have been the best I’ve ever seen him get ahead of hitters and go right at them,” Zalewski said. “He’s always focused, but he was really extra sharp today. I thought he threw really well.”
Tunkhannock threatened to get on the board in the top of the third inning. Brett Soltysak drew a two-out walk, but was thrown out at the plate by Comets’ center fielder Sean O’Connor on a single by Bobby Gilpin.
Despite the result, Tunkhannock head coach Gary Custer was pleased with effort.
“I didn’t consider it as a (baserunning) error, I consider it aggressive baserunning,” he said.
Manasek, who allowed just four hits and stuck out eight batters while walking one, didn’t allow a base runner after the fifth inning.
Tunkhannock pitcher Ryan Weiss allowed three runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings.
“I thought he did the best job he could do,” Custer said. “He kept the ball around the strike zone.”
The fourth-seeded Comets (10-4) will host fifth-seeded Coughlin on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.