NEPA Sports Nation

Buckhorns dump Comets, 11-3

CLARKS SUMMIT – Wallenpaupack got two hits apiece from four batters Monday afternoon and at least one from eight of the nine batters in the starting lineup.

But, even when the Buckhorns weren’t getting one of their dozen hits, they produced.

Wallenpaupack scored eight fourth-inning runs on just three hits on the way to an 11-3 road victory over third-seeded Abington Heights when the District 2-4 Class 5A Subregional baseball playoffs opened with the quarterfinal round.

The sixth-seeded Buckhorns (10-11) ended the season for the Comets (12-7). Wallenpaupack advances into Wednesday’s semifinal at second-seeded Pittston Area (17-3).

“It was a game we felt good about coming in,” Wallenpaupack coach Todd Schmalzle said. “We split with them during the regular season. It was a game where we felt like even though we are the lower seed, we can beat this team.

“And, we felt all season long, we had underachieved a little bit. We’ve beaten some good teams and been in games with good teams like North Pocono.”

Eli Peifer held Abington Heights to four hits over five innings and came within an out of ending the game early on the 10-run rule.

Jordan Santiago and Peyton Toth each had two hits and two RBI from the third and fourth spots in the order. Jake Holbert and Mark Nilsen also had two hits while Thomas Kierstad contributed a two-run double.

Santiago scored three times and also added a stolen base and sacrifice fly.

Gannon Decker got the Buckhorns started immediately.

Decker led off the game with a single, stole second and went to third on the overthrow. He then scored on Santiago’s sacrifice fly.

Abington Heights tied the game in the bottom of the second, but managed just one hit over the first 3 1/3 innings against Peifer.

“He’s been a workhorse for us this year,” Schmalzle said. “He’s thrown some really good games without much to show for it.”

Meanwhile Wallenpaupack was getting multiple hits for each of the first four innings.

Peyton Toth’s single drove in Santiago in the third for a 2-1 lead and the Buckhorns broke the game open in the fourth.

“I thought the kids did a good job of getting deep in counts and favorable counts to hit in,” Peifer said.

Wallenpaupack also drew five walks and had three players reach base when they were hit by pitches.

The first nine batters reached in the fourth and the first eight of them scored for an 11-1 lead.

Nilsen’s leadoff single was followed by an error and a fielder’s choice on which the Comets did not record an out.

Garrett Hitchcock singled, then three walks, a hit batter and Jake Holbert’s RBI single kept up the streak of batters reaching base.

Following Holbert’s bases-loaded single, the next three runs were forced in by walks and a hit batter.

Abington Heights scored its last two runs the same way – on batters hit by pitches with the bases loaded. The first time that happened, in the fifth inning, it extended the game.

After pushing across one run each time, the Comets left the bases loaded in the fifth and sixth innings.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was created from the reporting of Paul Gerrity.

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