NEPA Sports Nation

Unbeaten Cougars take 6A title

Hazleton Area remained unbeaten on the season and virtually unchallenged since mid-April while adding to its growing lists of accomplishments Wednesday.

The Cougars jumped out in front early and cruised to an 11-3 victory over visiting Wilkes-Barre Area in a District 2-4 Class 6A Subregional baseball final.

Already the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 champions, the Cougars improved to 21-0 while adding another championship and landing a berth in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state tournament.

In 14 games since April 15, two eight-run victories over Wilkes-Barre Area are the closest games Hazleton Area has had.

After waiting out a long pregame rain delay, Hazleton Area scored three runs each in the first and second innings for a 6-0 lead.

The Wolfpack tried to fight back with three runs in the top of the third, but the Cougars came right back with four in the bottom of the inning for a 10-3 lead.

Ryan Verbonitz and Brett Antolick drove in two runs to lead the Hazleton Area offense. Verbonitz homered and Antolick had two hits.

Grant Russo scored three times and also had two hits.

Starting pitcher Nick Biasi and winning pitcher Michael Kilker combined on a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts.

Biasi went 4 2/3 innings. Kilker struck out four over the last 2 1/3 innings and did not allow any hits or walks.

Jack Gilgallon drove in two of the three Wilkes-Barre Area runs.

Hazleton Area advances to face either Hatboro-Horsham or North Penn in Monday’s first round of state play.

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