S. ABINGTON TWP. — Abington Heights’ offense got rolling in the fourth inning, but it wasn’t enough as Scranton finished strong to defeat the Comets, 5-3, in a Lackawanna League baseball exhibition game April 23.
Dan Habeeb, who started the Comets’ rally with a double, scored when starting pitcher Vinny Vaccaro lined a double down the right field line. Catcher Hector Miranda-Santos followed with an RBI single into shallow left-center to give Abington Heights a 2-0 lead after four innings.
Vaccaro, who allowed four hits while striking out four batters, worked out of several jams to keep Scranton off the scoreboard.
Scranton’s Robbie McAndrew walked to lead off the top of the first and Steven Paszek reached on an error, but Miranda-Santos threw out McAndrew at third base for the first out before Vaccaro struck out Jake Wesolowski looking and got Jason Carpenter to ground out.
Wesolowski and Carpenter singled to start the top of the fourth, but Vaccaro struck out the next two batters — Joey Hull and Eddie Keen — and Miranda-Santos threw out a runner attempting to steal third base to end the inning.
“Vinny threw really well,” Abington Heights head coach Bill Zalewski said. “We’re trying to build up his pitch count, because we have some three-game series coming up and we’re going to have to lean on him a little bit.”
Scranton (1-3) struck for four runs in the top of the fifth.
Kenny Kretsch and McAndrew singled, and Paszek walked to load the bases for Brandon Karp, who drove in the Knights’ first run of the game with an infield single.
Scranton tied the game when Carpenter was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Jason Ardan followed with a two-run single.
“We got behind some hitters that inning and when you do that it’s going to lead to runs,” Zalewski said. “We have a couple things to work on in practice this week.”
Ryan Burke pulled Abington Heights back within one run, 4-3, with an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth, but the Knights added an insurance run in the sixth when McAndrew, who reached base in all four at-bat’s, delivered an RBI double.
Abington Heights (2-2) threatened in the bottom of the sixth when Anthony Freda walked and Beck Chickillo singled, but Karp, who struck out the first two batters of the inning, induced a fly ball to get out of trouble. Karp retired the Comets, in order, in the bottom of the seventh to close out the game.
Abington Heights is scheduled to host Scranton Prep (1-3) in a Lackawanna League Division 2-3 crossover game at 4:30 p.m. April 26.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.