Abington Heights strikes in fifth to defeat Pittston Area in district title game

By Robert Tomkavage - rtomkavage@timesleader.com
Pittston Area starter Nina Cencetti delivers a pitch against Abington Heights in the District 2 Class 5A softball championship game at Scranton High School on Tuesday night. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Pittston Area shortstop Taryn Ashby fields a grounder as Abington Heights’ Alison Kane advances to third base. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Pittston Area’s Gabby Para scores in the top of the first inning against Abington Heights. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

SCRANTON —Alexa McHugh came through with a first-inning RBI and for the first four innings Tuesday night, it looked like the run might hold up for Pittston Area.

Patriots pitcher Nina Cencetti allowed six hits, but kept Abington Heights off the scoreboard through the first four innings.

Then Abington Heights went to work in the fifth off McHugh and topped the Patriots 2-1 in the District 2 Class 5A softball championship game.

“I told our kids we have nothing to be ashamed of,” Pittston Area coach Vito Quaglia said. “We’re the seventh seed and nobody expected us to be here. We played hard.”

Cassidy Bartkowski singled with one out in the fifth and moved to third after a walk from Nina Kozar and popout by Catherine Anne Kupinski.

Kaylee DeMatteo delivered the big blow with an RBI double and Kozar came around to score the eventual winning run off a throwing error on the play.

“They’re a great team,” Quaglia said. “We have to score more than one run to beat a team as good as Abington. I thought we played well. Nina pitched great and that was the matchup we wanted, bringing Alexa in with the lead. That’s what we’ve been doing in the postseason because she’s another great pitcher.”

Lexi Felinski and Morgan Mesaris singled in the sixth for Pittston Area, but Comets pitcher Meghan McGinley got a popout and strikeout to end the inning.

Taryn Ashby singled and Gabby Para walked in the seventh, but McGinley came up big once again. She fielded the ball for a force out at third and induced a groundout to end the game.

Pittston Area starter Nina Cencetti delivers a pitch against Abington Heights in the District 2 Class 5A softball championship game at Scranton High School on Tuesday night.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_Pitt-AHsb_1.jpgPittston Area starter Nina Cencetti delivers a pitch against Abington Heights in the District 2 Class 5A softball championship game at Scranton High School on Tuesday night. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Pittston Area shortstop Taryn Ashby fields a grounder as Abington Heights’ Alison Kane advances to third base.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_Pitt-AHsb_2.jpgPittston Area shortstop Taryn Ashby fields a grounder as Abington Heights’ Alison Kane advances to third base. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Pittston Area’s Gabby Para scores in the top of the first inning against Abington Heights.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_Pitt-AHsb_3.jpgPittston Area’s Gabby Para scores in the top of the first inning against Abington Heights. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

By Robert Tomkavage

rtomkavage@timesleader.com

Reach Rob Tomkavage at 570-585-1600 or on Twitter @rtomkavage

Reach Rob Tomkavage at 570-585-1600 or on Twitter @rtomkavage