H.S. softball: Paige Harris too much for Pittston Area as Abington Heights wins District 2 Class 3A title


By Nick Wagner - nwagner@timesleader.com



Abington Heights’ Cassie Toth races down the baseline as Pittston Area pitcher Taylor Baloga readies to throw to first during Wednesday’s PIAA District 2 Class 3A softball championship game at Marywood University.


Nick Wagner | Times Leader

Pittston Area’s Taylor Baloga took the loss against Abington Heights in Wednesday’s PIAA District 2 Class 3A softball championship game at Marywood University.


Nick Wagner | Times Leader

Pittston Area second baseman Lexi Felinski flips the ball to first base during Wednesday’s District 2 Class 3A softball championship game at Marywood University.


Nick Wagner | Times Leader

Pittston Area’s Taryn Ashby makes a catch as Abington Heights’ Jane Mecca slides safely into second base during Wednesday’s District 2 Class 3A softball championship game at Marywood University.


Nick Wagner | Times Leader

Recent District 2 Class 3A

Softball Champions

2016 – Abington Heights

2015 – Nanticoke

2014 – Berwick

2013 – Valley View

2012 – Valley View

2011 – Valley View

2010 – Valley View

2009 – Dallas

2008 – Dallas

2007 – Abington Heights

2006 – Valley View

2005 – Valley View

2004 – Hazleton Area

2003 – Hazleton Area

2002 – Hazleton Area

2001 – Hazleton Area*

2000 – Hazleton Area

*-lost to Jersey Shore in D2-4 subregional in title game

SCRANTON — Pittston Area found itself in uncharted territory on Wednesday. The Patriots were playing in their first district softball final. No nerves were there, but top-seed Abington Heights had its ace in the circle.

Paige Harris threw a complete game, one-hitter, to knock out Pittston Area, 5-0, in the PIAA District 2 Class 3A softball championship at Marywood University. The Patriots finished the season 15-8 overall.

The runner-up finish is the best finish a Pittston Area softball team has ever accomplished. It marked Abington Heights’ third district title and the first since 2007.

“We got beat by a good team that played better than us today,” Pittston Area head coach Vito Quaglia said. “The whole picture of the season is going from 5-10 last year to playing for a district title this year. That tells you the heart and resilience this club has. This will not be the last time we’re in this game.”

Harris kept the Patriots at bay, allowing just one hit – the first pitch she threw – in the complete game win. Quaglia said Harris was doing a good job keeping the heart of his lineup off balance most of the game.

The Patriots, following Lexi Felinski’s leadoff, bloop single and Taryn Ashby’s walk, put runners on first and third with no outs in the top of the first. Harris then induced Mindina Lieback to hit into a double play, leaving Felinski on third with two outs.

After cleanup hitter Baloga walked, Harris got a groundout from Alexa McHugh to end the early threat.

“She’s a good pitcher and you can’t take anything away from her,” Quaglia said of the Comet hurler. “When we did hit it hard we hit right at people. Maybe in other games they sneak by.”

Baloga settled in following Cassidy Bartkowski’s RBI double in the third inning. Down 1-0, the senior worked out of jams in the fourth and fifth inning. In the sixth, however, the flood gates opened for the Abington Heights offense.

Baloga got Harris to ground out to open the sixth. With one out, however, cleanup hitter Dominique Emmett drew a walk. Kaylee DeMatteo then laced a harmless single to right. Right fielder Julie Silinskie threw to third, but the ball scooted away allowing courtesy runner Jane Mecca to score.

Two singles and a double followed to make it a quick 4-0 edge for the Comets in the sixth. Quaglia then pulled Baloga and gave way to Nina Cencetti. Cencetti got out of the inning, but not before allowing an RBI single to Nina Kozar.

“It was tough to keep that lineup off balance,” Baloga said. “They eventually did a good job getting around on me.”

Following the four-run sixth from the Comets, Harris got the first two outs of the seventh before allowing two baserunners on. She got out of the the inning and the title was Abington Heights.

As a freshman, Baloga and the Patriots were 2-12.

“To start out my freshman season 2-12 and finish my career in the district title game says a lot about how much work we put in the last four years,” she said.

PIAA District 2 Class 3A Championship

Abington Heights 5, Pittston Area 0

Pittston Area`AB`R`H`BI

Felinski 2b`3`0`1`0

Ashby ss`1`0`0`0

Lieback cf`3`0`0`0

Baloga p`1`0`0`0

McHugh lf`3`0`0`0

Cencetti 1b`3`0`0`0

Bradigan 3b`3`0`0`0

Cegelka dp`1`0`0`0

Williams ph `2`0`0`0

Silinskie rf`2`0`0`0

Totals`22`0`1`0

Abington Heights`AB`R`H`BI

Bartkowski ss`4`0`1`1

Kane cf`2`0`0`0

Harris p`3`0`0`0

Emmett c`2`1`1`0

DeMatteo 3b`3`1`2`0

Solan lf`3`1`1`1

Lewis 1b`3`1`1`1

Kozar dp`2`0`1`1

Toth 2b`1`1`0`0

Mattise ph`1`0`0`0

Totals`24`5`7`4

Pittston Area`000`000`0`—`0

Abington Heights`001`004`x`—`5

2B — Bartkowski, Emmett, Lewis. HBP — Ashby. SAC — Toth. E — Pittston Area 2, Abington Heights 1. LOB — Pittston Area 6, Abington Heights 5.

Pittston Area`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Baloga (L)`5.1`6`4`3`2`1

Cencetti`0.2`1`1`0`0`0

Abington Heights`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Harris (W)`7.0`1`0`0`3`5

Abington Heights’ Cassie Toth races down the baseline as Pittston Area pitcher Taylor Baloga readies to throw to first during Wednesday’s PIAA District 2 Class 3A softball championship game at Marywood University.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_AHsoftball3.jpgAbington Heights’ Cassie Toth races down the baseline as Pittston Area pitcher Taylor Baloga readies to throw to first during Wednesday’s PIAA District 2 Class 3A softball championship game at Marywood University. Nick Wagner | Times Leader

Pittston Area’s Taylor Baloga took the loss against Abington Heights in Wednesday’s PIAA District 2 Class 3A softball championship game at Marywood University.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_PAsoftball5.jpgPittston Area’s Taylor Baloga took the loss against Abington Heights in Wednesday’s PIAA District 2 Class 3A softball championship game at Marywood University. Nick Wagner | Times Leader

Pittston Area second baseman Lexi Felinski flips the ball to first base during Wednesday’s District 2 Class 3A softball championship game at Marywood University.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_PAsoftball2.jpgPittston Area second baseman Lexi Felinski flips the ball to first base during Wednesday’s District 2 Class 3A softball championship game at Marywood University. Nick Wagner | Times Leader

Pittston Area’s Taryn Ashby makes a catch as Abington Heights’ Jane Mecca slides safely into second base during Wednesday’s District 2 Class 3A softball championship game at Marywood University.
http://theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_PAsoftball1.jpgPittston Area’s Taryn Ashby makes a catch as Abington Heights’ Jane Mecca slides safely into second base during Wednesday’s District 2 Class 3A softball championship game at Marywood University. Nick Wagner | Times Leader

By Nick Wagner

nwagner@timesleader.com

Recent District 2 Class 3A

Softball Champions

2016 – Abington Heights

2015 – Nanticoke

2014 – Berwick

2013 – Valley View

2012 – Valley View

2011 – Valley View

2010 – Valley View

2009 – Dallas

2008 – Dallas

2007 – Abington Heights

2006 – Valley View

2005 – Valley View

2004 – Hazleton Area

2003 – Hazleton Area

2002 – Hazleton Area

2001 – Hazleton Area*

2000 – Hazleton Area

*-lost to Jersey Shore in D2-4 subregional in title game

Reach Nick Wagner at 570-602-0178 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick


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Reach Nick Wagner at 570-602-0178 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick

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