JESSUP — Abington American used a balanced offensive attack and strong pitching performance to defeat Carbino Club, 11-3, in the District 17/32 City-County championship game Aug. 14.
As much as clutch hits and big strikeouts contributed to their success throughout the season, members of the team credit another variable for helping the group win the first City-County title by an Abington team since 2008 — friendship.
“I’ve played on many teams and this was probably the best team I’ve ever played on friendship-wise,” Conner Griffin said. “Everybody is a great teammate and picks you up when you’re down.”
Jake Lenahan, who had four hits and drove in four runs, echoed Griffin’s sentiments.
“We’re always talking to everyone in the dugout,” Lenahan said. “There are no little groups in the dugout; we’re all talking to each other and never let each other get down. Team chemistry is probably our biggest attribute.”
Abington took command of the game early by scoring four runs in the top of the first inning.
Tate Pentasuglio singled and Reese Zalewski drew a walk before Griffin sent a ball well over the 200-foot fence in left-center field for a three-run homer. Lenahan followed with a solo home run that sailed over the wall in right-center.
“We’ve been waiting for that all year,” Lenahan said of the back-to-back homers. “I was just looking to do what I always do. The first pitch I see, drive it.”
Lenahan started the game on the mound, but lasted just two batters before leaving with shoulder discomfort.
Griffin got the call and didn’t allow a hit over 5 1/3 innings of work. Despite getting the ball earlier than projected, he was prepared.
“I got ready before the game because I thought I was going to close it,” he said. “It was a little hard to get out of the (first) inning, but we made great plays throughout the field.”
Carbino pushed across a run in the bottom of the first on an RBI groundout by Zach Cwalinski.
Abington American tacked on four more runs in the top of the second inning.
Brock Pentasuglio led off with a double and scored on an infield single by Adam Dempsey. Griffin followed with a two-run double and Lenahan added an RBI double.
“One through nine, we’re solid,” Abington American manager Scott Pentasuglio said. “The kids work hard in practice and it carries over into the games.”
Griffin struck out seven batters, including two in the second and fourth innings.
“I started to develop a different pitch, a two-seam fastball,” he said.
David Turlip drove in a run for Carbino in the bottom of the third inning and Dom Memo, who walked, scored when Cwalinski reached on a fielder’s choice.
After Dempsey and Griffin walked in the top of the fourth, Lenahan knocked them in with a double to the gap in right-center.
Abington American struck again in the top of the sixth when Tate Pentasuglio doubled and scored on an RBI single by Reese Zalewski.
Brock Pentasuglio also contributed two hits for Abington.
Dempsey took over on the mound with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning and struck out two batters.
“We were fortunate that we were able to get our three 12-year-olds in to pitch,” Scott Pentasuglio said. “It was a great way to end their Little League careers. We’ll miss them next year, they are a superb bunch of kids, but I have confidence they’re all going to be successful in life.”
While Scott Pentasuglio was happy to see the players win the championship, that wasn’t his main objective.
“Right from the start of the season, our goal was to have fun playing baseball,” he said. “We wanted them to learn the fundamentals and develop team camaraderie and leadership skills. We never mentioned the word ‘win’ as coaches. The kids worked hard and never got too high or too low. They always lean on each other and I’m thrilled for this team; they deserve it.”
Abington American defeated East Scranton, 12-2, in the City championship game Aug. 8.
Madison Zalewski had two hits and two RBIs. Jake Lenahan and Adam Dempsey each added two hits, and Hunter Pentasuglio and Brock Pentasuglio each drove in two runs for Abington. Winning pitcher Conner Griffin allowed just one hit and struck out 11 batters over five innings. Dempsey struck out two in an inning of relief.
Carbino Club defeated Abington National, 6-5, in the County championship game Aug. 8.
Ryan Nealon had two hits and two RBIs, Derek Locker had a hit and RBI, and Will Ramey added a hit for Abington. Colin Price struck out two batters in 2 2/3 innings.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.