S. ABINGTON TWP. — After his team managed just two runs in 14 innings during a loss to Abington Heights May 8, Wallenpaupack head coach Todd Schmalzle knew it would be important for the group to click early May 11.
The Buckhorns scored in three of the first four innings and held off a late charge by the Comets to defeat Abington Heights, 6-4, in a Lackawanna League Division 2 baseball game.
Tyler Kirsten singled and and scored on an error to give the Buckhorns a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Wallenpaupack padded its lead in the top of the second. Adam Sands singled and scored on an RBI by Morgan Theobald. Tyler Stevens walked and scored on a passed ball and Kirsten added an RBI single.
“It was really big for us to come out and score in the first inning,” Schmalzle said. “In the second, we tacked on another (three) runs. It was really important for us to get off to a good start.”
The Buckhorns pushed across two more runs in the top of the fourth when Kirsten singled and scored on an error, and Max Alessi drove in Derrick Vosburg, who reached on an error, with a double.
Sean Myers, who replaced Abington Heights starting pitcher Jake Swank, stranded runners on first and third base to prevent further damage.
Wallenpaupack starting pitcher Mitch Guerrieri limited Abington Heights to two hits — singles by Anthony Duboski and Luke Fayocavitz — in the first three innings.
“He was consistently mixing (his pitches) and was pounding the strike zone,” Abington Heights head coach Bill Zalewski said. “He did a great job against our hitters.”
Colin McCreary sparked Abington Heights’ offense with a solo home run over the fence in right field to lead off the bottom of the fourth.
The Comets added a run in the bottom of the fifth when Anthony Salavanti led off with a single and Ryan Harvey drove in pinch-runner Tommy Rothenberger, but Abington Heights’ comeback attempt fell a little short in the seventh inning.
Collin Huggler led off with a single and McCreary drove in pinch-runner Anthony Freda to pull the Comets within three, and Swank followed with a single.
“We started hitting the ball; that’s the biggest thing for us right now,” Zalewski said.
Wallenpaupack’s Chris Brindle replaced Guerrieri with runners on first and third and two outs in the seventh.
Duboski, who finished with three hits, doubled to drive in pinch-runner Joey Barcia and cut the Comets deficit to two runs.
James Myers drew a walk to load the bases for Evan Dempsey, but Brindle worked out the jam with a strikeout to end the game.
“We did a great job battling back,” Zalewski said. “Wallenpaupack is a very good baseball team; they’ve proved that throughout the year. They have great pitching, they play defense and they swing the bats.”
Abington Heights (5-5) will begin the District 2 Class 5A playoffs May 19 at a site and time to be determined.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.