Panic would have been the byproduct last year. Not so on a cold Thursday afternoon for the Pittston Area softball team.
The Patriots worked out of a jam in the top of the seventh, using a game-ending double play to secure a 3-2 victory over Crestwood in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 game.
Pittston Area (3-0) remained atop the division. Moreover, the victory allowed the Patriots to top last season’s win total when they finished 2-13.
“Last year because of that inexperience we’d have that one inning where we’d throw the ball around,” said Pittston Area coach Dave DeLuca, who started five freshmen last year. “Then the floodgates would open. This year they’ve been working super hard in practices, coverages and things like that.”
That showed in the seventh after an RBI double by Maddy Heller moved Crestwood within 3-2 with no outs and runners on second and third. Ashley Murphy then hit a comebacker to Pittston Area pitcher Taylor Baloga. Baloga caught Crestwood’s Jordan Oleginski too far off third base and after a brief rundown she was tagged out.
Still, the Comets (2-3) had runners on first and second with one out. Pinch hitter Sereya Tereska, though, hit a sharp grounder to third baseman Abbey Bradigan, who touched third and threw across the diamond to end the game.
“Hats off to Pittston Area. They’ve come a long way,” Crestwood coach Bob Bertoni said. “They’ve done a great job with their kids and we haven’t. I haven’t done a good job, the players haven’t done a good job. Nobody is doing a good job on this team except the pitchers.”
The Comets have scored eight runs all season, fewest in Division 1, yet are tied with the most games played with five. Compounding the problem is they are allowing a division-low three runs per game.
“We’re just not a good softball team,” Bertoni said. “We have a lot of work to do. The amazing part is, we have two of the best pitchers in the league. But they can’t pitch and score runs. We’re just not a good softball team.”
Baloga, who was on the losing end of 12 games as a freshman, continued her strong pitching. The sophomore righty allowed just three hits and one earned run while striking out seven. She was bailed out of a one-out jam in the fifth on an inning-ending 3-2-5-4 double play. Like the double play in the seventh, this one included a rundown between third and home.
“She works hard all year round,” DeLuca said. “As a freshman last year, she took her lumps. She is much more confident this year. Plus, having the bats come around and a better defense behind her helps her confidence.”
Pittston Area’s Mindina Lieback snapped a 1-1 tie in the fifth with an RBI single. She later scored on a double by Baloga to deep center. Bradigan knocked in the Patriots’ first run in the second.
Wyoming Area 8
Wyoming Area 1
It was another good week for Wyoming Area’s softball team. After starting 4-0 on the season, the Warriors picked up wins against Coughlin on Monday, and Dallas on Friday.
Wyoming Area held off a late charge from Coughlin to tally an 8-6 win Monday.
The Crusaders scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn’t push the last two across the plate.
Wyoming Area’s Sarah Coolbaugh was 2-for-4 with a solo home run. Emily Wolfgang had another big day at the plate by going 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Drew Bednarski, Bree Bednarski and Adrienne Przybla each tallied two hits for the winners.
Senior Nicole Cumbo picked up the win in the circle.
The win over Coughlin put Wyoming Area to 5-0 on the young season. With a little bit of small ball, things are looking up for the Warriors, who had 10 steals against the Crusaders.
“We’ve been aggressive on the basees and that puts us in position to score,” McNeal said. “We’ve had some timely hits and were able to take advantage.”
Against Dallas, Wyoming Area only had six hits in a 4-1 loss. Drew and Bree Bednarski, Emily Wolfgang, Sarah Coolbaugh, Nicole Turner and Adrienne Przybyla each recorded a hit. Bree Bednarski drove in Drew for the Warriors’ only run.
“They’re starting to adapt to the program,” Wyoming Area coach John McNeal said. “Every day we try to get a little better. That’s our goal.”
The Warriors played at Lake-Lehman on Saturday morning. Wyoming Area will travel to Pittston Area on Monday afternoon.