AP NEWS

Cougars Wrap Up Seventh Straight Division 1 Title

May 17, 2019

HUGHESTOWN — How did Hazleton Area’s softball team respond to its first loss of the season? Like a champion. The Cougars pounded out 15 hits against Pittston Area ace Alexa McHugh — including at least one by every starter — scored three runs in three different innings and got enough quality pitching to coast past the host Patriots 10-4 Thursday and clinch their seventh straight Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 title. Not bad for a team still smarting from a 6-2 loss at Berwick two days earlier, where not much went right for the Cougars on the way to their first setback of the season after 16 mostly comfortable wins. “There’s never a good loss, but sometimes there’s a necessary loss,’’ first-year Hazleton Area coach Bob Bertoni said. “It motivated our kids a little bit more. It got them refocused ... and this was the end result.’’ The Cougars (17-1, 12-1 WVC) wasted little time lighting up the scoreboard Thursday. Olivia Wolk went with McHugh’s outside high fastball and rapped into the right-field corner for a two-run triple in the top of the first. Wolk later scored the third run of the inning on a passed ball.

“We always say that we like to bat first because we can hop on teams right away,’’ Marissa Trivelpiece said. “Even when we’re at home, we’re like, ‘Home? Ewwww?’’’ Instead, the Cougars exorcised Tuesday’s demons. “The great part about this game is you get to get right back out there and do it again,’’ Trivelpiece said. “After (Tuesday’s loss), we definitely came into this game more confident. We had a little bit more of a purpose.’’ The early rally also gave Hazleton Area sophomore pitcher Caitlyn Katchur the chance to exhale before pitching the biggest game of her young varsity career. Although she gave up three hard-hit balls in the bottom of the first, leadoff batter Gabby Para was the only Patriot to reach first base. The other balls went directly to Tiana Treon at third base and to Trivelpiece at shortstop that the latter turned into an inning-ending double play. “My changeup was working better today than it usually does,’’ said Katchur, who didn’t even make the trip to Berwick because of an illness, but she gave her team five-plus solid innings in the circle. “I also was using what Bob (Bertoni) calls my ‘Funky Cold Medina,’ (a mix of several pitches in one that kept Pittston Area batters off stride). That was working too.’’ Trivelpiece singled in the second to make it 4-0 as Pittston Area struggled to find its offensive rhythm. “We just couldn’t get untracked offensively,’’ Pittston Area coach Vito Quaglia said. “Against them, my mindset is always you have to score at least seven (runs). You have to get one an inning because they’re gonna score seven. You’re not gonna hold down that offense for long. ... When we were kind of sputtering, I knew it was gonna be harder on our defense.’’ Quaglia’s fears were relaized Hazleton Area’s bats reawakened with two outs in the top of the sixth.

Treon hit a two-run single and Julia Mooney plated one to hike Hazleton Area’s lead to 7-0. Pittston Area finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth on Madisyn Antal’s RBI triple and Tori Para’s run-scoring single. But the Lady Cougars kept up the pressure, as Kaitlynn Peters and Julia Mrochko joined with a single and RBI-double, respectively. They later added two unearned tallies to account for their ninth and 10th runs. The Patriots refused to go quietly, putting up their own two unearned runs in the home seventh before Kost came on to shut the door and nail down another WVC title for Hazleton Area. Both teams will begin postseason play next week. The Patriots (16-3, 9-3) likely will be the No. 2 seed behind Abington Heights in the eight-team District 2 Class 5A tournament; while the Lady Cougars will be the top seed in the four-team District 2-4 Class 6A Subregional tournament. “This game’ funny,’’ Bertoni said. “We go out to Berwick and they play lights out and make every play. They hit it where we weren’t. Today, we brought our hitting sticks and we beat a very good team. We made some great plays ... Katchur did a great job (pitching). We went to our freshman (Terracino), who did well except for one mistake. ... and then we went to Aleah.’’ Game over. Conference championship won. Again.

 

 

 

Game Summary

HAZLETON AREA (10) — Mrochko 2b 5 1 1 1, Kost rf-p 2 1 1 0, Mizenko ph 1 0 0 0, Trivelpiece ss 5 3 4 1, Wolk cf 5 2 2 2, Treon 3b 4 1 1 2, Mooney c 4 0 3 1, Gombeda dp 4 0 1 0, Katchur p 0 0 0 0, Terracino cr-p 0 0 0 0, Peters 1b 3 1 1 0, Antolick lf 3 1 1 0. Totals 36 10 15 7.

PITTSTON AREA (4) — G. Para cf 4 1 1 0, Felinski 2b 4 0 0 0, McHugh p 3 1 0 1, Antal 3b 2 1 1 1, T. Para ss 4 0 1 1, Mesaris 1b 4 0 0 0, Williams lf 3 0 2 0, Kivler rf 3 0 0 0, Loyack c 3 1 1 0. Totals 30 4 6 3.

HA (17-1, 12-1) 310 003 3 — 10

PA (15-3, 9-3) 000 002 2 — 4

E — Hazleton Area 4, Pittston Area 5. DP — Hazleton Area 1. LOB — Hazleton Area 10, Pittston Area 8. 2B — Mrochko. 3B — Trivelpiece, Wolk, Antal. SB — Gombeda, Wolk. S — Kost, Antolick.

Hazleton Area IP H R ER BB K

Katchur W 5.1 3 2 2 2 1

Terracino 1.0 3 2 0 0 1

Kost 0.2 0 0 0 0 0

Pittston Area IP H R ER BB K

 

McHugh 7.0 15 10 5 3 4

HBP — by Terracino (Antal). WP — Terracino, McHugh 2. PB — Loyack. T — 1:57.