SCRANTON — Abington Heights had several chances for big innings, but couldn’t find a hole in Pittston Area’s defense.
Unlike the last two years when the Lady Comets found a way to knock in a key run in district title games against the Lady Patriots, Pittston Area’s pitching duo of Nina Cencetti and Alexa McHugh kept them off balance throughout.
“They made the plays when they had to and we didn’t get the big hit like we did all year,” Abington Heights head coach John Kelly said.
Pittston Area scored two runs in the first inning and broke the game open by scoring six times in the second to cruise to a 13-2 win over Abington Heights in the District 2-11 Class 5A subregional softball championship game May 30 at the University of Scranton’s Magis Field.
Pittston Area’s Lexi Felinski was hit by a pitch and scored on a throwing error when Cencetti grounded into a fielder’s choice. The second run came on an RBI groundout by Madisyn Antal.
Abington Heights had a good opportunity to bounce right back in the bottom of the first when they loaded the bases, but Cencetti, who scattered seven hits over five innings, worked out of the jam.
The Lady Patriots were assisted by two Abington Heights miscues in the second inning.
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.
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 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.
“It’s tough to repeat, never mind three-peat, especially when you play the same team three times. They came out and jumped on us, and we didn’t recover.”
Abington Heights scored its first run of the game in the third inning 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 (10-5) a 9-1 lead after 5 1/2 innings.
Abington Heights’ Caroline Kelly, who had two hits, drove in Bailey White in the bottom of the fifth for the Lady Comets’ second run. White and Maria Tully each also had two hits for Abington Heights (13-2).
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.
Despite the loss, Kelly was proud of his team’s effort throughout the year.
“We had a great season,” Kelly said. “We played great defense right up until this game and we hit the ball well all year long.”
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.