NEPA Sports Nation

Hazleton Area outslugs Dallas

DALLAS TWP. – Brett Antolick went 3-for-3 with five runs batted in Wednesday as defending champion Hazleton Area defeated host Dallas, 10-6, in an early meeting of potential Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 baseball contenders.

Antolick singled, doubled, tripled and also drew a walk.

Hazleton Area, the No. 1 Big School in the Riverfront Sports Super Six Power Rankings of District 2 teams at both the end of last season and in this week’s first rankings of this season, improved to 2-0 in the division and 3-1 overall. No. 5 Dallas, which was No. 3 to end last season as a District 2 Class 4A finalist, dipped to 1-1 and 4-1.

Grant Russo added to the offense, going 2-for-2 with three walks and four runs scored. Richie Rossi drew three walks and scored twice.

Johansel Brito worked the first four innings for Hazleton Area, striking out six while allowing two runs on three hits. Josh Halcisak got the save with four strikeouts in three innings while Dallas was scoring four runs to close the 10-2 gap.

Matt Maxfield assisted in the Dallas comeback attempt by holding Hazleton Area scoreless in the sixth and seventh innings. He struck out two without walking a batter and allowed just one hit.

Zach Paczewski led the Dallas offense with a three-run homer and a double. Joe Peters went 2-for-3 with a two-run double. Dominick Zangardi doubled in his only official at-bat and drew a walk.

Antolick’s RBI double in the top of the first opened the scoring, but the Cougars left the bases loaded.

Hazleton Area had four straight runners reach to score three runs in the second.

After the first two batters were retired, Alviere DelaCruz singled, then Russo and Rossi drew walks. Antolick cleared the bases with a triple for a 4-0 lead.

Dallas scored its first two runs on back-to-back doubles by Paczewski and Peters in the bottom of the third.

Hazleton Area built the lead to 8-2 in the fourth with four runs. Halcisak singled in a run to highlight an inning that began with a hit batter and four straight walks.

The teams combined for five runs in the fifth.

DelaCruz was hit by a pitch and Russo doubled. Both scored on an Antolick single to make it 10-2.

Zangardi and Zach Williams drew consecutive walks to start the bottom of the inning. Paczewski’s three-run home to left with one out cut the deficit to 10-5.

The last run scored on Zangardi’s RBI double in the sixth.

Shane Healey’s diving stop at third base for Dallas started a double play to end the top of the seventh, but Halcisak worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh to close out the game.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was created from the reporting of NEPA Sports Nation Student Journalist Nate Johns.

Follow us on social media