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Hazleton, MMI win titles; Hanover, Berwick fall short

May 26. 2014 9:20PM

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MOOSIC — After a matchup of the district’s last two state champions, it will be Abington Heights who gets to take another run at the PIAA tournament.

The Comets used an array of bloop hits and smart baserunning to upend Berwick 7-2 in the District 2 Class 3A championship on Monday night, capping off the Memorial Day quadruple-header at PNC Field.

Abington Heights — which won the 3A state title in 2009, one year after Berwick pulled it off — broke things open with three runs in the top of the fifth.

Berwick opened the scoring as Jake Jones came home on a throwing error with two outs in the bottom of the first.

The Comets answered with a three-spot in the third on the strength of a two-run single by Sean O’Connor. Berwick’s Zach Andress cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the frame with the hardest hit ball from all four games — an RBI double that went all the way to the base of the wall.

That would be as close as the Dawgs got. Abington Heights responded with a pair of sacrifice flys and an RBI single from Eric Salerno to increase the lead to four before tacking on one last run in the sixth.

Hawkeyes narrowly miss 2A gold

Hanover Area fell just one strike short of its first district baseball title in more than 20 years.

Lakeland came through with back-to-back RBI singles in the top of the seventh to rally past top-seeded Hanover Area for a 4-3 win in the District 2 Class 2A championship game at PNC Field.

Hawkeyes starter Nick Deno had settled down after a shaky start to strike out 11, including the first two batters in the seventh. But the No. 10 Chiefs, who had already beaten three higher seeds to reach the finals, strung together three singles and a walk to erase a 3-2 deficit and take the lead.

James Blevins tied it up with a single and Jimmy Hayes drove in the winner in the next at-bat.

Hanover Area, which had gone unbeaten in the regular season for the third straight year, was inches away from tying it in the bottom of the seventh. Mike Bugonowicz hit a hard liner to third base that would have easily scored Deno from second, if not for a stellar diving grab by Sean Pittack to end the game.

The Chiefs had jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first only to see the top-seeded Hawks answer back with three runs in the bottom of the frame.

Mike Blazaskie singled in a run, John Wickiser scored on a wild pitch and Blazaskie swiped home while a teammate was in a rundown to put the Hawks on top.

Preppers make history in Class A

One of the rarest plays in baseball — a two-run sacrifice fly — helped lift MMI Prep to its first District 2 championship.

Cory Rogers and Charlie Karchner both scored on Alec Andes’ fly-out to center in the fifth inning and Ed Herbener followed it up with what proved to be the game-winning RBI single in the Preppers’ 6-5 win over Blue Ridge in the Class A title game at PNC Field.

MMI trailed 5-2 entering the bottom of the fifth but pulled within two runs on a single by Karchner, who finished 3-for-3. With runners on second and third, Andes sent a pitch to center, where it was tracked down on a strong effort by center fielder Jordan Goff.

Both runners tagged up as Goff got to his feet and both hustled around the bases to score. Blue Ridge appealed the play, arguing that Karchner left second base early, but both runs counted and the score was tied.

Herbener not only drove in the winning run, he picked up the win in relief. Herbener retired all seven batters he faced to close out the game and make some history for MMI, easily the smallest school in District 2.

Cougars win 4A crown

Sophomore Dante Biasi threw a gem, shutting down and shutting out Delaware Valley’s potent offense for a 3-0 win in the District 2-4 Class 4A baseball championship at PNC Field.

Biasi struck out eight in six-plus innings, allowing just four hits. Sal Biasi came on for the final three outs for the save, fanning two more.

Sal Biasi drove in the only run the Cougars would need in the top of the first, bringing home his younger brother with a two-out single. In the fourth, Chris Panzarella scored from third while a teammate was caught in a rundown between first and second.

Joe Baran tacked on an insurance run in the seventh, knocking in Kyle Rogers, who led off the frame with a triple.

It was the first district title for Hazleton Area since 2005. The Cougars will face the District 3 runner-up next Monday in the first round of the state tournament.

Read more

Check back to and see Tuesday’s edition of The Times Leader for complete coverage of all four baseball title games.

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