Last updated: May 24. 2013 12:21AM - 3293 Views
By - dlevarse@civitasmedia.com - (570) 991-6396

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HANOVER TWP. — They gathered around each other before and after the final inning. Mid Valley players broke the huddle with the same chant.

“1-2-3, PNC!”

That, of course, would be PNC Field in Moosic, which will play host to Monday’s Memorial Day celebration of local baseball with four straight district title games.

Mid Valley will be there. Hanover Area’s surge came up short.

For the third straight season, the Hawkeyes fell in the District 2 Class 2A semifinals. Mid Valley pounced early on Thursday and kept the Hawks at bay for an 11-6 win at Hanover Area High School.

It was a tough way to go out for Hanover Area, which was the top seed in the tournament after going undefeated in league play two years in a row.

“I felt like this year, the group we had was experienced enough and we were talented enough,” Hawks coach Mike Zapotoski said. “The two years past, we were either really young — all sophomores — and the year before the kids just outworked everyone. … They were missing a few pieces.

“This group I felt was talented enough and experienced enough. But it just didn’t go our way today.”

The fourth-seeded Spartans (12-3) will face Lakeland at 1 p.m. in Monday’s championship game. Matt Mierzejewski went 3-for-4 with three RBI. Chris Rebar homered and drove in a pair.

Mike Blazaskie (triple, three RBI) and Mickey Ferrence (double, RBI) led Hanover Area at the plate with two hits apiece.

“The story of the game was they outhit us, really,” Zapotoski said. “They pitched a little bit better and they outhit us.”

That was something that hadn’t happened to the Hawks (13-1) in the regular season. Hanover Area had allowed just nine runs in 12 conference games.

Mid Valley turned the tables almost immediately. The Spartans put up three runs in each of the first two innings and led 6-0 before the Hawks could settle in.

“We’d been saying it for two days — get ahead and we’ll see what happens,” Mid Valley coach John Runco said. “They haven’t been behind all year. That was big. That was real key.

“I think putting the pressure on them was very important. And we did that, right from the first inning.”

Hanover Area had rarely trailed by any margin during the league campaign. But when it did happen, the Hawkeyes’ bats would often answer at the next opportunity.

It looked like they would have that opportunity against the Spartans’ No. 3 starter, Zach Nemitz, who was pitching on short notice because of some soreness to ace Nick Demian.

But the sophomore wasn’t rattled, inducing a double play to end the first and then leaving two runners stranded in scoring position with a strikeout to close the second.

“We needed to chip away in the first after they got three,” Zapotoski said. “Even if we got one there, it would have been a little bit of momentum back on our side.

“But they hit the ball when it mattered and they scored runs. We didn’t get quite get it done.”

When the Hawkeyes did get on the board in the fourth inning, it was the Spartans who fired right back.

Mickey Ferrence (double) and Mike Blazaskie each drove in a run to make it 6-2. But after Hanover got the first two outs in the fifth, the next six Mid Valley batters reached base to grab a 10-2 stranglehold on the game.

A Nick Deno sacrifice fly and a two-run single by Blazaskie in the sixth made it 10-5. Rebar’s homer came in the top of the seventh before Mike Sulcoski closed the scoring with a sac fly.

The loss closed the book on a Hanover Area senior class that helped establish the program as a top contender in the district.

“The senior class, all of them had a part in it,” Zapotoski said. “Ferrence, (Zach) Kollar, (Matt) Kocher, they carried us through.”

District 2 Class 2A semifinals

Mid Valley`AB`R`H`BI`2B`3B`HR

Justin King cf`4`2`1`0`0`0`0

Alex Varaksa c`4`3`2`1`0`0`0

Chris Rebar 2b`2`3`1`2`0`0`1

Nick Demian 1b-p`5`0`2`2`0`0`0

Matt Mierzejewski rf`4`1`3`3`0`0`0

Frank Fornaszewski rf`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Alex Prislupsky ss-1b`5`0`2`1`0`0`0

Ethan Hasenzahl 3b`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Carmen Dellia dh`3`0`1`1`0`0`0

Ed Abda lf`4`0`0`0`0`0`0

Zach Nemitz p-ss`3`2`1`0`0`0`0


Hanover Area`AB`R`H`BI`2B`3B`HR

Zach Kollar ss`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Christian Pack 2b`3`1`1`0`0`0`0

Mike Sulcoski c`3`2`1`1`0`0`0

Mickey Ferrence rf-p-rf`3`2`2`1`1`0`0

Nick Deno lf-p`2`0`0`1`0`0`0

Mike Blazaskie p-rf-lf`3`0`2`3`0`1`0

Jack Windt 3b`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Mike Bugonowicz 1b`3`0`1`0`0`0`0

Elido Veras pr`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Matt Kuhl cf`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Dakota Owen dh`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Matt Kocher ph`0`1`0`0`0`0`0


Mid Valley`330`040`1`—`11

Hanover Area`000`203`1`—`6

Mid Valley`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Nemitz (W, 1-0)`6+`7`6`4`3`1


Hanover Area`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Blazaskie (L, 0-1)`1+`4`5`5`2`3



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