Comets win baseball division title, reach district semifinals

By Tom Robinson - For Abington Journal
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DUNMORE – Abington Heights has pulled out close wins in four straight important games on the way to the District 2 Class 5A baseball semifinals.

The Comets won the last two games of the regular season to force a tie for first place, then won a playoff for the Lackawanna League Division 1 title before opening the District 2 tournament with a quarterfinal victory.

The four wins have come by a total of seven runs and improve Abington Heights to 13-6, including 9-2 in the last 11 games.

Abington Heights 2

Coughlin 0

The Comets faced a surprise test when they wound up in a pitchers’ duel with a two-win Coughlin team after Monday’s district opener was moved from their home field to the artificial turf surface at Schautz Stadium.

Nick Notari, who came on in relief in the top of the seventh inning, worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam to complete a combined five-hit shutout with Scott Gilbert.

Gilbert struck out seven and walked four in six-plus innings.

“Gilbert was cruising along through six, but then he got in a little bit of trouble in the seventh, so we brought Notari in,” Abington Heights coach Bill Zalewski said. “ … He got a big strikeout for us, then got the pop-up to end the game.

“He threw great in a clutch situation.”

Joshua Wychock went the distance for Coughlin, which was playing its final game before the merger of sports programs with Meyers and GAR to form the Wilkes-Barre Area Wolfpack. The Crusaders finished 2-19.

“He threw a great game,” Zalewski said. “We hit some balls hard, but they were right at guys and they played us very well defensively.”

John Deibert led the Abington Heights offense, going 2-for-3 and driving in a run.

Joey Barcia added a triple.

The Comets scored in the first and sixth innings.

Abington Heights, the second seed in the seven-team tournament, advanced to Thursday’s semifinals where it will host Monday night’s North Pocono-Crestwood winner.

The final is scheduled for Sunday at 6 p.m. at PNC Field, the Moosic home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Pittston Area, Wallenpaupack and Wyoming Valley West make up the other half of the bracket.

Abington Heights 9

Valley View 7

The Lackawanna League Division 1 title came down to Friday night’s one-game playoff at The University of Scranton’s Volpe Field.

“Both of us were concerned about playoffs coming up,” Abington Heights coach Bill Zalewski said. “We used different guys in different spots.”

The Comets rallied from an early deficit and Connor Newman got the win with a four-inning relief outing.

“He threw really well,” Zalewski said. “He kept them off-balance.

“I guess you could say the lights played a factor in the game. It was tough to read.”

Both teams misplayed flyballs.

Abington Heights 3

Scranton Prep 1

Abington Heights won at Scranton Prep May 13 in the regular-season finale to force the first-place tie in the division.

Final Lackawanna Division 1 standings were: Abington Heights 9-4, Valley View 9-4, Scranton Prep 5-8, West Scranton 5-8, Scranton 4-9.

https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/web1_Baseball-field-1.jpg

By Tom Robinson

For Abington Journal

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-991-6405 or by email at news@theabingtonjournal.com.

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-991-6405 or by email at news@theabingtonjournal.com.