Last updated: May 24. 2013 12:21AM - 3017 Views
By - jerzar@civitasmedia.com - (570) 991-6394

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WEST PITTSTON — Those five runs were supposed to be the turning point. The opportunity for Wyoming Area to seize control in Thursday’s District 2 Class 3A baseball semifinal game. The chance to slam the door or, at the very least, leave it barely ajar.

Instead, Abington Heights kicked it open with its biggest inning of the season to end the Warriors’ title hopes.

The Comets responded to Wyoming Area’s five-run third with a nine-run fourth, then held on for a 9-7 victory at Atlas Field.

Seventh-seeded Abington (11-5) will go for its first district title since 2009 when it plays top-seeded Valley View (14-2) at 4 p.m. Monday at PNC Field in Moosic. The teams split their two regular-season meetings. Sixth-seeded Wyoming Area finished its season at 11-6.

The game was moving at a rapid pace with starting pitchers Dave Manasek of Abington and Joe Gavenonis of Wyoming Area having little trouble through two innings. That changed in the bottom of the third as Wyoming Area sent nine batters to the plate and scored five times.

Senior Bart Chupka had the biggest hit of the inning, a bases-loaded double that scored three runs. Nick O’Brien had an RBI single earlier and another run scored on a fielding error.

“We always talk about a shutdown inning after we score,” Wyoming Area coach Chick Andrewscavage said, “and we scored five. I told the guys `shutdown’ and we come back in with nine on us.”

Abington topped Wyoming Area’s nine-batter inning by sending 13 to the plate in the top of the fourth. The first eight reached base. The Comets sprayed four singles around the outfield, and Kevin Elwell had an RBI double and RBI triple in the inning.

When the damage finally subsided, Abington led 9-5.

“We’ve kind of been that loose team all year,” Abington coach Bill Zalewski said. “We’ve played some close games lately. We’ve trusted our pitching staff and we were hoping to keep it there and scrap one run at a time and get back in it.

“We just happened to get nine all at once.”

Wyoming Area cut the deficit to 9-7 in the sixth as O’Brien and Eric Walkowiak hit consecutive two-out singles and scored when Zach Lopatka’s grounder was misplayed. The Warriors then had two runners on with one out in the seventh, but Manasek worked out of the jam to seal the win.

Manasek was equally impressive and shaky. He struck out 11, yet walked three and hit four batters with pitches.

“We have three very good pitchers,” Zalewski said. “Dave has kind of been our horse all year. … He kept telling me he was fine.”

O’Brien, Wyoming Area’s lead-off guy, paced the Warriors with three hits. The rest of the team, though, managed just three more. Abington had just one hit outside that nine-run fourth.

“They gave me a great year,” Andrewscavage said. “It was great coaching these kids. We had a whole bunch of seniors on this team and they were fantastic to me. It’s not all about baseball here. We play to win, but we play to learn. The guys on the field for us, they never gave up. They were trying right to the end.”

Abington Heights`AB`R`H`BI`2B`3B`HR

Tyler Ksiazek dh`2`1`1`1`0`0`0

Dave Manasek p`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Brad Smertz lf`3`0`0`1`0`0`0

Josh Slocum cf`4`1`0`1`0`0`0

Kevin Elwell ss`3`2`2`2`1`1`0

Dante Pasqualichio 2b`3`1`2`2`0`0`0

Matt Heckman 3b`4`1`1`0`0`0`0

Justin Porpiglia 1b`4`1`1`0`0`0`0

Matt McDonald c`2`1`0`0`0`0`0

Kyle Tierney rf`2`1`0`0`0`0`0


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

Nick O’Brien cf`3`2`3`1`1`0`0

Eric Walkowiak lf`2`1`1`0`0`0`0

Zach Lopatka rf-p`4`1`0`0`0`0`0

Trent Grove c`3`1`0`0`0`0`0

Bart Chupka 1b`3`0`1`3`1`0`0

Joe Gavenonis p`2`0`0`0`0`0`0

Tino Romanelli 2b`1`0`1`0`0`0`0

Brian Mapes pr`0`0`0`0`0`0`0

Jake Granteed ss`3`0`0`0`0`0`0

Jordan Zezza 3b`3`1`0`0`0`0`0

Mike Carey 2b-p`3`1`0`0`0`0`0


Abington Heights`000`900`0 — 9

Wyoming Area`005`002`0 — 7

E — Abington 3, Wyoming Area 2. DP — Wyoming Area 1. LOB — Abington 4, Wyoming Area 8. SF — Smertz. SAC — Pasqualichio, Walkowiak 2.

Abington Heights`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Manasek (W)`7.0`6`7`3`3`11

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

Gavenonis (L)`3.0`5`6`5`1`1



Gavenonis pitched to 6 batters in the fourth.

Carey pitched to 2 batters in the fourth.

HBP — Elwell (by Gavenonis); Ksiazek (by Carey); Carey, Grove, Chupka, Gavenonis (by Manasek).

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