D2 softball: Pittston Area claims first district championship

By Robert Tomkavage - [email protected]
Pittston Area’s Kaehler Kivler lays down a bunt to advance teammate Morgan Mesaris to second base on Wednesday. - Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
Pittston Area’s third baseman Madisyn Antal backhands a ball to prevent it from going down the line against Abington Heights in Wednesday’s District 2 Class 5A championship. - Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
Pittston Area coach Vito Quaglia gets a hug from Alexa McHugh after he presented her a District 2 softball gold medal after downing Abington Heights in the Class 5A title game on Wednesday at the University of Scranton. - Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

SCRANTON — After two years of heartbreak, Pittston Area’s players were all smiles following their latest district title clash with Abington Heights on Wednesday.

“We’ve been waiting for this the past couple years and we needed to get payback,” Pittston Area junior second baseman Lexi Felinski said.

The Patriots took advantage of several Abington Heights errors in the first two innings to build a comfortable lead and coast to a 13-2 win in the District 2 Class 5A softball championship game for the first district title in the program’s history.

Pittston Area will play District 1 fourth seed West Chester Henderson on Monday in the first round if the PIAA 5A state tournament at a site and time to be announced.

Pittston Area broke through for two runs in the top of the first inning when Felinski was hit by a pitch and scored on a throwing error, and Alexa McHugh scored on a groundout by Madisyn Antal.

Abington Heights loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning, but Pittston Area pitcher Nina Cencetti, who scattered seven hits over five innings, induced a popout to get out of the early jam.

“After pitching against them last year, I came into this game trusting my defense 100 percent,” Cencetti said. “Even if it looks like a really hard hit, I trusted that they were going to make the out and that’s exactly what happened.

“It’s really nice to get the win after two silvers.”

The Patriots turned two Abington Heights miscues into a six-run second inning to take command of the game.

Morgan Mesaris struck out, but advanced to first on a passed ball. The next batter, Kahler Kivler, advanced to second on a throwing error after laying down a sacrifice bunt.

“We had a really bad second inning,” Abington Heights coach John Kelly said. “It started out with a strikeout and passed ball, then a bunt back to the pitcher. We should have had two outs and they had two runners on base. Give them credit, they had the opportunities and they took advantage.”

Gabby Para, Cencetti and Antal each drove in a run during the inning and Shayla Williams had the big blow with a two-run double to the gap in left-center field.

“We all work as a team and do our job,” Williams said. “We got onto their pitching much faster than we have in the past and that was a big step for us.”

Abington Heights scratched across a run in the bottom of the third when Catherine Anne Kupinski walked and scored on a fielder’s choice.

Bailey Loyack’s RBI single scored Williams, who doubled, to give Pittston Area a 9-1 lead after 5 1/2 innings.

Abington Heights’ Caroline Kelly, who had two hits, drove in Bailey White, who also had two hits, in the bottom of the fifth.

Felinski doubled and scored on a fielder’s choice in the top of the sixth and the Patriots added three more runs in the seventh on a two-run double by McHugh and RBI single from Cencetti.

Pittston Area coach Vito Quaglia believed the title was the culmination of three years of hard work.

“The first time we were playing for a championship, three years ago, the program was turning around and I think we were nervous,” he said. “Last year, we were a little bit more comfortable. And, this time, I thought some of the kids who have been through it three times played very loose.”

DISTRICT 2 CLASS 5A CHAMPIONSHIP

Pittston Area 13, Abington Heights 2

Pittston Area`AB`R`H`BI

Para cf`5`2`3`1

Felinski 2b`5`4`3`0

McHugh 1b-p`5`3`2`2

Cencetti p-1b`5`1`2`2

Antal 3b`5`0`0`2

Williams lf`4`1`2`2

Mesaris dp`2`1`0`0

Kivler rf`4`1`0`0

Loyack c`4`0`1`1

Gable ph`2`0`0`0

George ss`0`0`0`0

Totals`41`13`13`10

Abington Hts`AB`R`H`BI

Hamm 3b`4`0`0`0

Solan ss-p`4`0`1`0

Kupinski 1b`4`1`0`0

Kozar c`4`0`0`0

White cf`4`1`2`0

McGinley p`3`0`0`0

Bartkowski dp-ss`4`0`0`0

Kelly rf`3`0`2`1

Tully 2b`3`0`2`0

Mecca rf`1`0`0`0

Kobrynich lf`0`0`0`0

Fiorillo lf`0`0`0`0

Totals`35`1`7`1

Pittston Area`260`011`3 — 13

Abington Heights`001`010`0 — 2

2B — Para, Felinski, McHugh, Williams (2), Kelly

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

Cencetti W`5.0`7`2`1`4`1

McHugh `2.0`0`0`0`2`4

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

McGinley L`6.0`9`10`2`2`6

Solan `1.0`4`3`3`0`0

Pittston Area’s Kaehler Kivler lays down a bunt to advance teammate Morgan Mesaris to second base on Wednesday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_PA-AH-Girls-Districts-TL-2.jpgPittston Area’s Kaehler Kivler lays down a bunt to advance teammate Morgan Mesaris to second base on Wednesday. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

Pittston Area’s third baseman Madisyn Antal backhands a ball to prevent it from going down the line against Abington Heights in Wednesday’s District 2 Class 5A championship.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_PA-AH-Girls-Districts-TL-1.jpgPittston Area’s third baseman Madisyn Antal backhands a ball to prevent it from going down the line against Abington Heights in Wednesday’s District 2 Class 5A championship. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

Pittston Area coach Vito Quaglia gets a hug from Alexa McHugh after he presented her a District 2 softball gold medal after downing Abington Heights in the Class 5A title game on Wednesday at the University of Scranton.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_PA-AH-Girls-Districts-TL-3.jpgPittston Area coach Vito Quaglia gets a hug from Alexa McHugh after he presented her a District 2 softball gold medal after downing Abington Heights in the Class 5A title game on Wednesday at the University of Scranton. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader

By Robert Tomkavage

[email protected]

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.