On the Wyoming Valley Conference’s top baseball team, it was a sophomore who made the biggest impact.
Hazleton Area had multiple MVP candidates emerge on its 2014 roster as the Cougars won the District 2-4 Class 4A tournament and made a run into the state quarterfinals. On Thursday, WVC coaches honored Dante Biasi by naming him the league’s Player of the Year upon releasing its all-star teams.
Biasi was joined on the Division 1-2 first team by teammates Joe Baran, Sal Biasi and Tony Hernandez.
Dante Biasi emerged as a standout at the plate and on the mound. By season’s end, he was batting third in the Cougars’ potent lineup and typically manning left field when not pitching.
He got the ball from coach Gino Cara to start the district championship game at PNC Field, and the lefty threw six-plus innings of shutout ball to beat Delaware Valley and give the Cougars their first D2 crown since 2005.
In the program’s first PIAA tournament victory, he helped spark a late rally against Hempfield with a two-run double in the bottom of the sixth.
Hazleton Area led WVC teams in the top two divisions with four first-team all-stars, followed by Dallas with three — Jordan McCrum, Domenic Oliveri and Nigel Stearns.
Wyoming Valley West (Bill Gregory, Ryan Hogan) and Crestwood (Anthony Caladie, Curt Yenchik) each had two first-team selections.
Rounding out the Division 1-2 first team was Joe Champi (Pittston Area), Matt Dacey (Holy Redeemer), Jordan DiValerio (Berwick), Tyler Kolb (Lake-Lehman), Kyle Lupas (Coughlin) and Sean Soltysiak (Tunkhannock).
The Division 3 coaches all-star team was led by six members of Hanover Area’s district finalist squad — Mike Blazaskie, Mike Bugonowicz, Nick Deno, Christian Pack, Mike Sulcoski and John Wickiser.
Local coaches also finalized details for the WVC Senior All-Star Game, which will be played at 5 p.m. on July 1 at Mountain Post Legion field in Rice Township.
Hazleton’s Cara will coach the East squad while Wyoming Valley West’s John Milius will coach the West squad.