Brett Antolick drove in four runs while Bryce Molinaro homered and tripled Friday afternoon as Hazleton Area completed a successful Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 baseball title defense with an 8-5 victory over visiting Pittston Area.
Antolick also had a triple. Molinaro drove in two runs.
The Cougars went 14-0 in the division, but second-place Pittston Area entered the finale with the chance to force a tie for first place.
Hazleton Area scored five runs in the bottom of the first then held on.
The Patriots got within 5-4 in the third, but the Cougars scored three times in the sixth.
Pittston Area outhit Hazleton Area, 11-6, including a 4-for-4 effort by Troy Davis, who had two doubles, a home run, two runs scored and an RBI. Davis is 7-for-7 in the last two games.
Drew Menendez, who drove in two runs, and Jeremy Cawley each had a single and double for the Patriots.
Hazleton Area has won 17 straight since an opening loss and has a prohibitive lead in the race for the top seed in the District 2-4 Class 6A Subregional. The Cougars have three non-league games remaining.
Pittston Area went 12-2 in the division and is 14-3 overall with both division losses coming to Hazleton Area. The Patriots, who also have three non-league games left, are positioned for a likely home-field advantage in the quarterfinals of the District 2-4 Class 5A Subregional playoffs.