Josh Kopcza, Wyoming Area blank three-time champ Abington Heights

By John Erzar - | May 24th, 2016 10:02 pm

WEST PITTSTON — When a team even scores on a bases-loaded catcher’s interfere, things are certainly going good.

Things went better than good for Wyoming Area on Tuesday against three-time defending District 2 Class 3A champion Abington Heights.

Josh Kopcza pitched a much-needed complete game and second baseman Tyler Dougherty turned in a unique unassisted double play as the Warriors rolled into the semifinals with a 7-0 victory.

Second-seeded Wyoming Area (11-2) advanced to the district semifinals for the sixth time under coach Ron Musto, who has coached the team a total of 16 years in two stints. The Warriors lost all five previous semifinals by one run at home. They host third-seeded North Pocono (7-6) at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Seventh-seeded Abington (6-8) saw its streak of 12 consecutive D2-3A victories end. The Comets’ last loss in the district playoffs came in 2012 when they fell 10-0 to Tunkhannock in the opening round.

“These guys played hard. I love them,” Abington coach Bill Zalewski said. “I don’t think anything was different (this season). We just got in a little bit of a funk and didn’t make some plays and that comes back to haunt you a little bit. But I’m proud of them because the one thing I know is they leave it on the field.”

Kopcza entered the game with an 0.66 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 42.1 innings in Wyoming Valley Conference games. He had five strikeouts Tuesday and was in a bit of trouble at times, but worked out of it and kept the remaining pitchers fresh for Thursday.

“With the short week, it was big,” Musto said. “We took care of his arm all year. We kept him around 100 pitches all year and today we were going to push him to 120, 125. He was either going to have the week off or the summer off. He threw well and that’s what we needed out him.

“Against a quality team like Abington, you have to play good defense and you have to get good pitching, and that’s what we got today.”

Defense came to the forefront in the fifth inning. Sam Arnold and Luke Fayocavitz opened the inning with singles, putting Comets on first and second. Expecting a bunt, Musto had Dougherty aligned closer to second base. Instead, Ryan Harvey swung away and ripped a low liner up the middle. Dougherty made a diving catch and belly-flopped on second all in one motion for a double play.

“Besides being the most insane play I’ve ever seen, it was huge,” Kopcza said. “It was definitely a web gem.”

Wyoming Area took a 2-0 lead in the third. The Warriors loaded the bases when Steve Homza reached on an error on his sacrifice bunt, Mike Bonita got aboard on a fielder’s choice and Cory Lescavage walked. Kopcza then hit a foul ball toward the parking lot on the right-field line. The fans that looked to see if all vehicles would be spared turned back to the field to see Kopcza trotting to first. The umpire ruled the catcher interfered with the swing.

Brandon Charney made it 2-0 with a deep sacrifice fly to right.

Abington pitcher Colin McCreary, pitching in only his second game of the season due to an arm injury suffered last summer, got in trouble again in the fifth. He appeared out of it when Bonita hit a routine grounder with two outs, but the ball was booted and Ryan Webb scored. Lescavage added an RBI single to make it 4-0.

Aaron Lee added an RBI single in the fifth and Kopcza did the same in the sixth.

NOTES: Abington had its lead-off batter on base in the second, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. … Abington second baseman Zach Spangenberg is the brother of San Diego Padres second baseman Cory Spangenberg. … Kopcza held the Comets to 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position.

Crestwood 3, Berwick 1

James Graves went the distance on the mound to lift the fifth-seeded Comets to a win in the Class 3A quarterfinals.

Brett Caladie finished 2 for 3 with an RBI while Brandon Brozena added two hits and Tim Kindler knocked in a run of his own. Matt Champ gave No. 4 Berwick a 1-0 lead in the third. Max Melito doubled for the Bulldogs.

Valley View 15,

Pittston Area 0

Top-seeded Valley View made quick work of the No. 8 Patriots, ending the Class 3A quarterfinal matchup in three innings.

The Cougars will host Crestwood in Thursday’s semifinals with a trip to PNC Field on the line.

District 2 Class 3A quarterfinals

Wyoming Area 7, Abington Heights 0


Fayocavitz rf`4`0`1`0

Harvey ss`4`0`0`0

Spangenberg 2b`3`0`1`0

Myers c`1`0`1`0

Hughes 1b`3`0`0`0

Duboski lf`3`0`1`0

McCreary p`2`0`0`0

Carlini dh`3`0`0`0

Rothenbrgr cf`0`0`0`0

Swank p`0`0`0`0

Eckersley p`0`0`0`0

Arnold 3b`2`0`2`0


Wyo Area`AB`R`H`BI

Bonita cf`3`2`0`0

Lescavage ss`3`0`2`1

Kopcza p`2`1`1`2

Charney 3b`2`0`1`1

Dougherty 2b`3`0`0`0

Minichello dh`4`0`0`0

Nardell lf`0`0`0`0

Webb rf`2`2`0`0

Lee c`3`0`2`1

Homza 1b`2`2`1`0


Abington Hts.`000`000`0`—`0

Wyoming Area`002`212`x`—`7

E — Abington 4. DP — Abington 1, Wyoming Area 2. LOB — Abington 8, Wyoming Area 8. 2B — Duboski. SB — Carlini, Webb, Bonita. SAC — Dougherty, Homza. SF — Charney.


McCreary (L)`4.0`4`4`0`2`4




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

Kopcza (W)`7.0`6`0`0`2`5

District 2 Class 3A quarterfinals

Crestwood 3, Berwick 1


Distasio ss`2`0`0`0

Kovalchik 3b`1`0`0`0

Chalk 1b`4`0`0`0

Graves p`4`0`1`0

Darden c-2b`0`0`0`0

Macko dh`2`0`0`0

Brozena dh`2`1`2`0

TKindler lf`4`0`1`1

Kresge cf`3`1`1`0

Albee rf`3`1`0`0

Tokach 3b-c`3`0`0`0

Caladie 2b-ss`3`0`2`1



Melito rf`4`0`1`0

Horsefld 1b-p`3`1`1`0

Curtin 3b`2`0`1`0

Marshman p`3`0`1`0

Champ cf`2`0`0`1

Knorr c`0`0`0`0

Novicki dh`3`0`1`0

Laubach 2b`3`0`0`0

AlMarkle ss`3`0`1`0

Mensinger lf`2`0`0`0

DiValerio ph`1`0`1`0




2B — Graves, Melito


Graves (W)`7.0`7`1`1`1`2


Mrshmn (L)`6.2`7`3`1`0`8


5/16/16. Sean McKeag | Times Leader Sean McKeag | Times Leader

By John Erzar

Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar