NEPA Sports Nation

Hazleton Area stops Williamsport

By Tom Robinson,

MOOSIC – Brett Antolick and Jordan Castine combined on a three-hitter while the heart of the Hazleton Area batting order teamed up to produce more than enough offense to turn back Williamsport, 8-2, in the District 2-4 Class 6A Subregional final that capped a Memorial Day championship baseball tripleheader at PNC Field.

Antolick allowed only one run on one hit over the first five of his six innings. He struck out 10, ending each of those innings on strikeouts.

Williamsport got to Antolick, the Texas A&M commit who was performing in front of multiple Major League Baseball scouts, for another run on two more hits in the sixth inning. Castine then pitched a hitless, scoreless seventh inning, striking out the game’s final batter.

The Hazleton Area offense also did its part, including scoring five runs in the first and two in the second after Williamsport broke on top with a run in the top of the first.

“I was comfortable continuing to throw,” Antolick said. “I battled out there, even though it wasn’t my best performance.”

Leadoff hitter Grant Russo reached base in three of four plate appearances with two singles and a walk. He scored runs in each of the first two innings.

Antolick did not have a hit while batting second, but did score twice after drawing a first-inning walk and later reaching on an error.

Chris Florentino, Jamie Martoccio and Dominic Marino combined to go 7-for-11 with five RBI and three runs scored in the third through fifth spots in the order.

Florentino, who played on the junior varsity team for the first half of the season, had RBI singles in each of the first two innings and also came in to score both times.

Martoccio went 2-for-3. He put the Cougars ahead with a sacrifice fly in the first and singled in a run in the second inning.

Marino, a freshman, was 3-for-4. He had an RBI double and scored in the first inning.

Hazleton Area (18-4) advanced into the first round of state play. It earned a 4:30 p.m. Monday home game with North Penn (19-5), the Lansdale team that finished third in District 1.

“The big thing today was that we showed a really solid defense,” Hazleton Area coach Russ Canzler said after the subregional victory. “We made play. We didn’t give them extra outs.

“That’s kind of what burned us last year. We threw the ball around a little bit.

“I think we have the pitching depth. We showed we can have timely hitting. I think it’s going to come down to backing up those arms we have with our defense. Those (state) games are always tight. Any extra outs can be costly.”

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