SCRANTON — Abington Heights turned a tightly contested game into a rout in the top of the fifth inning.
The Comets struck for 1o runs in the fifth to defeat Scranton, 12-2, in five innings in the second contest of a three-game series against the Lackawanna League Division 1 opponent on Tuesday afternoon. Abington Heights beat Scranton, 3-2, on Monday.
Third baseman Zach Spangenberg started the rally when he was hit by a pitch after falling behind 0-2 in the count. Spangenberg then stole second base and came around to score on a wild throw from Scranton catcher Nick Montoro.
“He had a big hit earlier in the game to get us going and then he battled and took one for the team,” Abington Heights head coach Bill Zalewski said of Spangenberg. “He’s just a great player.”
Comets designated hitter Jake Swank drove in Tom Rothenberger, who ran in place of Matt Hughes, who was also hit by a pitch, for the second run of the inning.
Pinch-hitter Nick Carlini followed with a single that drove in two runs before Ryan Harvey and Sam Arnold delivered RBI singles and Spangenberg, Hughes, Anthony Duboski and Swank each drove in a run by drawing a walk with the bases loaded.
“I’ve been seeing the ball much better lately,” Arnold said. “I didn’t start the season too well, but after a couple games I’ve been more comfortable at the plate. All of our players have an above average baseball IQ, you can’t say that about a lot of high school teams.”
Zalewski was pleased with the contributions from the entire lineup, including the reserves, in the win.
“Nick Carlini came in and had a big hit when the score 4-2,” he said. “It really gave us a lift and the rest of the lineup kept it going. It was a nice inning for us.”
After a scoreless first inning, the Comets broke through for two runs in the top of the second.
Spangenberg led off with a single and Arnold followed with a double in the left-center field gap. The next batter, Duboski drove in a run while reaching base on a fielder’s choice. Right fielder Luke Fayocavitz gave the Comets a 2-0 lead by lining a single off Knights pitcher Colin Mullen, knocking him out of the game with an injury.
Harvey, who allowed one earned run on five hits, surrendered a single to Montoro and hit third baseman Ross Zanghi and left fielder Joe Chiarelli with pitches in the bottom of the second inning before inducing a ground ball out from shortstop Robbie McAndrew to end the inning.
“He’s a competitor, he’s always going to give us everything he has on the mound, that’s what we love about him,” Zalewski said of Harvey. “He’s a gamer.”
Scranton tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the third. Right fielder Brian McGuigan drove in a run on a sacrifice fly and Montoro added an RBI single.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.