Sunday, July 27, 2014





Hazleton baseball storms into PIAA quarters


June 04. 2014 11:56PM

By - dlevarse@civitasmedia.com





PIAA CLASS 4A QUARTERFINALS

Hazleton Area

vs. La Salle College

6 p.m. today

at Parkland High School, Allentown

———————————————————

HAZLETON AREA

COUGARS

District 2 champions

Coach: Gino Cara

Record: 18-5 (11-4 WVC)

Possible lineup

1. Dave Klein, rf

2. Joe Baran, cf

3. Dante Biasi, p

4. Robbie John, c

5. Sal Biasi, 2b

6. Chris Panzarella, ss

7. Kyle Rogers, 1b

8. Jeremy Budgeon, lf

9. Mitch O’Donnell, 3b

2014 schedule

Regular season

at Easton`W, 12-0

at Valley West`W, 13-2

at Coughin`W, 8-7

Berwick`W, 6-0

Pittston Area`L, 6-4

Wyoming Area`W, 11-7

Crestwood`W, 3-1

at Dallas`W, 10-4

Parkland`W, 8-7

at Tunkhannock`W, 4-2

at Beth. Catholic`W, 6-2

Holy Redeemer`W, 8-2

Valley West`L, 4-3

at Crestwood`W, 12-2

at Berwick`L, 4-2

at Lake-Lehman`W, 8-0

at Pittston Area`W, 12-2

at West Scranton`L, 4-3

Coughlin`L, 10-9

WVC Division 1 tiebreaker

vs. Berwick`W, 12-2

District 2-4 tournament

Williamsport`W, 3-1

vs. Delaware Valley`W, 3-0

PIAA tournament

vs. Hempfield`W, 4-3

LA SALLE COLLEGE

EXPLORERS

District 12 champions

Coach: Joe Parisi

Record: 18-6

Possible lineup

1. A.J. Grezeszak, ss

2. Brad Schneider, 2b

3. Jimmy Herron, cf

4. Dom Cuoci, 3b

5. Nick Dermo, c

6. Brian Buckley, 1b

7. Ryan Coonahan, rf

8. Ian McIntosh, lf

9. Adam Arcadia, dh

John Scheffey, p

2014 schedule

Regular season

Archbishop Ryan`W, 8-4

at St. Joseph’s Prep`W, 15-3

at Father Judge`W, 14-3

at Cardinal O’Hara`L, 4-3

Archbishop Wood`W, 11-9

Roman Catholic`W, 6-4

St. Joseph’s Prep`W, 9-3

St. Joseph’s Prep`L, 14-12

Haverford`W, 4-3

at Archbishop Ryan`W, 8-3

Archbishop Ryan`W, 6-3

Cardinal O’Hara`W, 15-5

at Cardinal O’Hara`W, 7-3

at Holy Ghost Prep`L, 12-1

Father Judge`W, 11-1

Father Judge`W, 1-0

at Roman Catholic`L, 9-7

at Roman Catholic`W, 5-0

Catholic League tournament

Conwell-Egan`W, 9-2

Roman Catholic`L, 8-4

Bonner-Prendergast`W, 5-3

at Neumann-Goretti`L, 1-0

District 12 championship

vs. George Washington`W, 16-1

PIAA tournament

vs. Boyertown`W, 6-3



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There was no Gatorade bucket handy. So Sal Biasi improvised.


The Hazleton Area senior crept up behind Gino Cara with a near-empty Aquafina bottle and poured what little was left on his coach’s head following Monday’s opening-round PIAA win.


“Save it,” Cara said with a grin. “We’ll need better than that.”


Yes, the Cougars would like to hold off on the big celebration for another week. This year’s squad has already gone further than any other Hazleton Area baseball team in program history as the Cougars prepare for today’s Class 4A state quarterfinals.


And after shaking off a no-hit bid by Hempfield on Monday by scoring four runs in the final two innings, the Cougars bring some confidence into today’s 6 p.m. game against District 12 champ La Salle College High at Parkland High School.


The Cougars (18-5) are hoping to be just the second Wyoming Valley Conference team in history to win a state baseball crown, and they just might have the depth and mentality to pull it off.


“This is the loosest team I’ve ever seen,” Cara said. “Without a doubt.”


“I mean, look at them,” Cara said, gesturing back to his winning dugout. “You can look at them right now, and they’re ready to go. This is how we got here.”


When the Cougars did briefly lose their cool against Hempfield — a player was ejected after barking at the home plate umpire following a called third strike — they responded with two of their best innings of the season to beat the Black Knights against long odds.


A deep lineup and pitching staff was a big reason for the comeback. When starting pitcher Tony Hernandez was chased in the third inning, Joe Baran settled things down and, along with Biasi, blanked the Knights the rest of the way.


Between the pitching change and the ejection, Hazleton had to shuffle around the lineup with players showing their versatility. Dante Biasi played three positions, including first base. Seth Porpiglia came on to play second in the seventh inning and then laid down a textbook sacrifice to push the eventual winning run into scoring position.


“We went very deep,” Cara said. “Jeremy Budgeon played, and he’s played a lot for us and had an outstanding year. Dominic Cara has played quite a bit for us, but nothing in key roles. And he comes in for a state playoff game. Seth Porpiglia hadn’t had an at-bat in awhile and just puts a perfect bunt down.”


They’ll need similar performances today to beat La Salle and extend the season.


The Explorers are just two years removed from winning the 4A state title and have been a baseball power since the Philadelphia Catholic League joined the PIAA in 2008-09. La Salle has won the District 12 city championship each of the last three seasons and has plenty of experience on this big stage.


On the plus side for the Cougars, they won’t face Explorers ace Dom Cuoci, a St. Joseph’s recruit and 2014 MVP of the Catholic League. Cuoci got the start and went the distance in Monday’s 6-3 first-round win over Boyertown.


But La Salle still has 6-foot-3 senior lefty John Scheffey as a potential starter on the hill today. Like Cuoci, Scheffey was part of that state championship team and was also named a PCL all-star this season.


Hazleton Area, meanwhile, will likely turn to Dante Biasi, the only one of the team’s top four pitchers who didn’t take the mound against Hempfield.


Dante Biasi already has two starts and two wins this postseason. He beat Berwick in the WVC Division 1 tiebreaker and then threw six shutout innings against Delaware Valley to win the District 2 title.


The sophomore has been a major part of the success for a predominately veteran team, helping the group mesh into a title contender.


“The personalities here are incredible,” Cara said. “They mix well together. It might be the smartest group I’ve had. … They’re savvy and they’ve got a lot of experience. They’re very loose. They’re very well-organized and together.”


Papi on the clock


The MLB draft begins at 7 p.m. today with the first two regular and competitive balance rounds. And Mike Papi could very well hear his name called on this first day.


The Tunkhannock alum and current University of Virginia star is considered one of the best prospects available, ranked as high as the top 50 in some scouting reports.


Papi, who helped lead the Tigers to the 2011 state finals, was a 30th-round pick of the Los Angeles Angels coming out of high school but elected to go the college route. A first-team All-American as a sophomore, Papi’s stock has only risen as a junior as the Cavaliers begin Super Regional play on Saturday against Maryland.


***


PIAA BASEBALL PLAYOFFS

All teams are listed by (district-seed)

CLASS 4A

FIRST ROUND

Methacton 4, George Washington 0


Spring-Ford 2, Parkland 1


La Salle College 6, Boyertown 3


Hazleton Area 4, Hempfield 3


Conestoga 3, Cedar Cliff 2


Red Land 10, State College 2


Seneca Valley 4, Moon 2


DuBois 9, Baldwin 3


QUARTERFINALS

Today’s games

• Methacton (1-1) vs. Spring-Ford (1-4), 4 p.m., Neumann University, Aston


• La Salle College (12-1) vs. Hazleton Area (2-1), 6 p.m., Parkland H.S., Allentown


• Conestoga (1-3) vs. Red Land (3-3), 4 p.m., Muhlenberg H.S., Reading


• Seneca Valley (7-1) vs. DuBois (9-1), 3 p.m., Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock


SEMIFINALS

Monday, June 9

• Methacton/Spring-Ford winner vs. La Salle/Hazleton winner, TBA


• Conestoga/Red Land winner vs. Seneca Valley/DuBois winner, TBA


CHAMPIONSHIP

Friday, June 13

• Semifinal winners at Medlar Field, State College, 1 p.m.


__________

CLASS 3A

FIRST ROUND

Pope John Paul II 3, West Perry 1


Northeastern 3, Archbishop Wood 1


Tamaqua 12, Franklin Towne 2 (6 inn.)


Jersey Shore 4, Abington Heights 3


Harriton 9, Northern York 8


Blackhawk 4, Somerset 3


Punxsutawney 3, West Allegheny 2


Cathedral Prep 9, West Mifflin 2


QUARTERFINALS

Today’s games

• Pope John Paul II (1-1) vs. Northeastern (3-3), 4 p.m., Wenger Field, Fredericksburg


• Tamaqua (11-1) vs. Jersey Shore (4-1), 2 p.m., King’s College, Wilkes-Barre Twp.


• Harriton (1-2) vs. Blackhawk (7-2), 1 p.m., Green Twp. Park, Scotland


• Punxsutawney (9-1) vs. Cathedral Prep (10-1), 4 p.m., Clarion-Limestone H.S., Strattanville


SEMIFINALS

Monday, June 9

• Pope John Paul/Northeastern winner vs. Tamaqua/Jersey Shore winner, TBA


• Harriton/Blackhawk winner vs. Punxsutawney/Cathedral Prep winner, TBA


CHAMPIONSHIP

Friday, June 13

• Semifinal winners at Medlar Field, State College, 6 p.m.


__________

CLASS 2A

FIRST ROUND

Neumann-Goretti 5, Berks Catholic 3


Bloomsburg 8, Lakeland 3


Notre Dame-Green Pond 6, Springfield Township 5


Loyalsock Township 6, Bald Eagle Area 1


Bedford 10, Steel Valley 4


Northwestern 7, Karns City 6


Franklin 7, Seton LaSalle 2


Central 4, Quaker Valley 1


QUARTERFINALS

Today’s games

• Neumann-Goretti (12-1) vs. Bloomsburg (4-2), 3:30 p.m., Parkland H.S., Allentown


• Notre Dame-Green Pond (11-1) vs. Loyalsock Township (4-1), 6:30 p.m., Stump Stadium, Pine Grove


• Bedford (5-1) vs. Northwestern (10-2), 1 p.m., Burkett Complex, Robinson Twp.


• Central (6-1) vs. Franklin (10-1), 4 p.m., Kuntz Memorial Field, Punxsutawney


SEMIFINALS

Monday, June 9

• Neumann-Goretti/Bloomsburg winner vs. Notre Dame/Loyalsock winner, TBA


• Bedford/Northwestern winner vs. Franklin/Central winner, TBA


CHAMPIONSHIP

Friday, June 13

• Semifinal winners at Medlar Field, State College, 10:30 a.m.


__________

CLASS A

FIRST ROUND

Devon Prep 8, York Catholic 5


Canton 11, MMI Prep 1 (6 inn.)


Schuylkill Haven 12, Jules Masterman 2 (5 inn.)


Juniata Valley 2, Lancaster County Christian 1


Cranberry 2, California 1


Bishop McCort 5, Eisenhower 0


Carmichaels 5, Southern Fulton 4


Elk County Catholic 3, Sewickely Academy 2


QUARTERFINALS

Today’s games

• Devon Prep (1-1) vs. Canton (4-1), 4 p.m., Stump Stadium, Pine Grove

• Schuylkill Haven (11-1) vs. Juniata Valley (6-2), 3:30 p.m., Green Twp. Park, Scotland


• Cranberry (9-2) vs. Bishop McCort (6-1), 3 p.m., Burkett Complex, Robinson Twp.


• Carmichaels (7-2) vs. Elk County Catholic (9-1), 5:30 p.m., Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock


SEMIFINALS

Monday, June 9

• Devon/Canton winner vs. Schuylkill Haven/Juniata Valley winner, TBA


• Cranberry/McCort winner vs. Carmichaels/Elk County Catholic, TBA


CHAMPIONSHIP

Friday, June 13

• Semifinal winners at Medlar Field, State College, 3:30 p.m.




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