Pittston Area’s Nina Cencetti shuts out Old Forge to open Section 5 Senior Softball play

By Nick Wagner


Pittston Area starter Nina Cencetti delivers a pitch against Old Forge in an opening round Section 5 Senior Softball game in Jenkins Township on Wednesday night.

JENKINS TWP. — About five minutes after Nina Cencetti arrived at the field on Wednesday, head coach Vito Quaglia let her know she was in the circle.

About two hours later, Cencetti proved Quaglia’s decision was the right one.

Cencetti fired a complete game shutout, allowing just five hits and walking two in Pittston Area’s 6-0 win over Old Forge in the opening round of the Section 5 Senior Softball tournament. Pittston Area and Old Forge are the only two teams in the tournament. Therefore, they will play a best-of-three series.

“I was just trusting my defense tonight and trying to throw strikes,” Cencetti said. “Our bats helped a lot tonight – everyone hit. Six runs is pretty good against Old Forge.”

The two teams will play the second game of the series at 8 p.m. Thursday. If Pittston Area wins Thursday’s matchup, it will be crowned the Section 5 champion for the second straight season and a trip to states would await. A loss would force a third game, which will be played at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Jenkins.

Pittston Area is equipped with four quality pitchers, including two with high school varsity experience. Cencetti and Taylor Baloga each pitched for the Patriots this past season. Dominique Quaglia and Alexa McHugh are also pitchers Pittston Area can count on.

Cencetti ran into some trouble in the first and fourth innings. She worked through 1-2-3 frames in the second, third and fifth innings. She never faced more than five batters outside the second and fourth.

In the first, Cencetti got the first two Old Forge batters quickly. Then a single from Ashley Walsh, a walk to Alex Thoman and a single by Cierra Fantini loaded the bases. Cencetti got a groundout off the bat of Alicia Santarsiero to end the inning.

“Early on, I don’t think she was loose,” Quaglia said. “After that she pitched a great game. Our defense played great. Nina is a dominating pitcher and she was on tonight.”

Pittston Area’s bats were quiet early on. After Abbey Bradigan drove home a run in the first with a single, the score stayed 1-0 until the fifth.

Old Forge threatened in the fourth.

Cencetti easily got the first two outs again, but Santarsiero and Kierstyn Breig hit back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners. An error allowed Brieg to move to second. Cencetti then struck out Gabby Verespey to end the inning.

In the fifth, Kerry Shamnoski gave Pittston Area some insurance.

After a walk by McHugh and a single from Cencetti, Shamnoski hit a one-out double down the right field line.

“Kerry came through huge tonight,” Quaglia said. “We have a lot of room to improve. We left a lot of base runners on tonight.”

Pittston Area stranded at least one runner in each inning through the first six; the team had eight total.

“They can all hit,” Quaglia said. “I hope we can keep hitting the ball and put (Thursday’s game) away early. Another shutout would be nice.”

Pittston Area 6, Old Forge 0

Pittston Area`AB`R`H`BI

Lieback c`4`1`0`0

McHugh ss`3`2`1`0

Cencetti p`4`2`2`0

Bradigan 3b`4`0`3`2

Shamnoski lf`4`0`2`2

Gardner cf `4`1`0`0

Quaglia 2b `3`0`0`1

Cegelka rf `2`0`0`0

L. Gronka ph `1`0`0`0

Kochanowski 1b`2`1`0`0

H. Gronka ph `1`0`1`0

Totals `32`6`10`4

Old Forge`AB`R`H`BI

Ruane ss `4`0`0`0

Quinn cf `3`0`0`0

Walsh p `3`0`1`0

Thoman c `2`0`0`0

Fantini 2b `2`0`1`0

Santarsiero dh `2`0`1`0

Manzo ph `1`0`0`0

Brieg 3b `3`0`1`0

Verespey 1b `2`0`0`0

Florovito ph `1`0`0`0

Rushefski rf `1`0`0`0

Hawley rf `2`0`1`0

Totals `26`0`5`0

Pittston Area`100`022`1`—`6

Old Forge`000`000`0`—`0

2B — Shamnoski

Pittston Area`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Cencetti (W)`7`5`0`0`2`7

Old Forge`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Walsh (L)`7`10`6`4`2`1

Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick

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