H.S. Softball: Pitcher Taylor Baloga, Pittston Area stop Wyoming Valley West


By John Erzar - jerzar@timesleader.com



Pittston Area’s Abbey Bradigan keeps a close eye on the ball as she watches it pass her during the game against Wyoming Valley West in Kingston on Tuesday.


Sean McKeag | Times Leader

Wyoming Valley West’s Chloe Ruckle pitches the ball during the game against Pittston Area at the Wyoming Valley West softball field on Tuesday.


Sean McKeag | Times Leader

Pittston Area’s Taylor Baloga pitches to Wyoming Valley West’s Erin Gibbons at the Wyoming Valley West softball field on Tuesday.


Sean McKeag | Times Leader

KINGSTON — Success hasn’t always been there for Pittston Area pitcher Taylor Baloga.

In her three previous years in the circle, the Patriots have won just 13 of 45 Wyoming Valley Conference games. Her final season, though, could be a case of saving the best for last.

Baloga took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and drove in three runs as Pittston Area defeated Wyoming Valley West 6-1 in a Division 1 game Tuesday.

Baloga didn’t know she had a no-hitter going.

“Not during the game,” Baloga said. “During the game, you try to stay focused and not worry about what’s going on. I just focused on throwing just one pitch at a time.”

Pittston Area, which won just five games last year, improved to 3-0. Valley West fell to 1-2.

Baloga gave up a walk to Valley West’s Jaden Belles to start the game. Belles was then erased when third baseman Abbey Bradigan snagged a shin-high liner and threw across the diamond for a double play. The lineout started a string of 15 consecutive Spartans retired by Baloga, with the only tricky out coming to end the fifth when shortstop Taryn Ashby speared a liner over her head.

“She’s definitely cut down her strikeouts-to-walks ratio,” Pittston Area coach Vito Quaglia said. “Last year, she made a big jump between her sophomore and junior year. This year she is progressing even more. She has real good command of the strikeouts. When she was younger, she was always a power pitcher, but she was much more wild as a freshman and a sophomore.”

The no-hit bid ended with one out in the sixth when Andi Blaski hit a sinking liner to right. Right fielder Julie Silinskie raced in, but was a stride or two short of having a shot at making a catch.

By that time, though, Pittston Area had a six-run lead.

The Patriots’ offense picked up where it left off last week when it scored 13 runs in the sixth in a 21-5 victory over Coughlin. Mindina Lieback opened the game with a triple to deep left. Lexi Felinski followed by lining a double inside the left foul line for a 1-0 lead. Baloga later made it 2-0 with a double to left-center.

Pittston Area bumped the lead to 6-0 in the third, scoring all four runs with two outs. Felinski and Alexa McHugh, two of three freshmen in the starting lineup, got things going with consecutive one-out singles. An out later, Baloga tripled to center to score them.

Nina Cencetti and Silinskie added RBI singles in the inning, with the hits sandwiched around a double by Ashby. The Patriots had nine of their 10 hits in the first three innings.

Valley West had two more hits — seventh-inning singles by Mandi Zawadzki and Colleen Cwalina. Audi Welles, who reached on a fielder’s choice, scored the Spartans’ only run on a wild pitch.

Valley West struggled to score runs in 2015 and appeared to break out in a 13-9 extra-inning win against Berwick on Friday. The Spartans, though, failed to score for a second time this year.

“Any team can win on any day,” Valley West first-year coach Jes Ras said. “You don’t know what kids are going to show up. We’re going to come back here tomorrow and work on the things we didn’t get today. We have Coughlin away on Friday and hopefully we get a win there.”

The game was moved from Pittston Area due to field conditions. It started at 5:30 p.m. due to Valley West having a junior high game at the field prior. The May 16 rematch will be played at Pittston Area.

Lake-Lehman 4,

Dallas 1

Miranda Parry was 3 for 3 and pitcher Abbey Hogan allowed four hits and struck out seven as the Black Knights won the battle of Back Mountain teams.

Maddie Kelley fanned eight for Dallas.

Berwick 11,

Coughlin 1 (5 inn.)

Berwick scored 11 runs in the last two innings to end the game after five innings.

Brooke Stout led Berwick with a homer, double and four RBI. Kylie Levan was 3 for 4 with a double and three RBI. She was also the winning pitcher.

Kendall Perage scored for Coughlin in the first, and the Crusaders had the run hold up until Berwick broke out with a six-run fourth.

Nanticoke 5,

Tunkhannock 4

Cassie Novakowski had two RBI and Nanticoke scored a run in the top of the seventh to edge Tunkhannock.

Leandra Ramos pitched the victory, allowing seven hits.

Jenna Simmons had two hits and two RBI for Tunkhannock, which battled back from a 4-0 deficit after one inning. Sarah Traver homered.

Pittston Area 6, Wyo. Val. West 1

Pittston Area`AB`R`H`BI

Lieback cf`4`1`1`0

Felinski 2b`4`2`2`1

McHugh lf`4`1`2`0

Bradigan 3b`4`0`0`0

Baloga p`3`0`2`3

Williams cr`0`1`0`0

Cencetti 1b`3`1`1`1

Ashby ss`3`0`1`0

Silinskie rf`3`0`1`1

Quaglia dp`3`0`0`0

Loyack c`0`0`0`0

Totals`31`6`10`6

WVW`AB`R`H`BI

Belles ss`2`0`0`0

Zawadzki 1b`3`0`1`0

Welles c`3`1`0`0

Cwalina dp`3`0`1`0

Klosko 3b`3`0`0`0

Boler 2b`3`0`0`0

Ryncavage rf`2`0`0`0

Blaski lf`2`0`1`0

Gibbons cf`2`0`0`0

Raskiewicz p`0`0`0`0

Ruckle p`0`0`0`0

Totals`23`1`3`0

Pittston Area`204`000`0`—`6

Wyo. Val. West`000`000`1`—`1

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

Baloga (W)`7`.0`3`1`1`1`6

WVW`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Raskiewicz (L)`2.2`9`6`6`0`5

Ruckle`4.1`1`0`0`0`1

Lake-Lehman 4, Dallas 1

Dallas`000`010`0`—`1

Lake-Lehman`000`202`x`—`4

Pitching — DAL, Kelley 6IP, 7H, 4R, 2ER, 2BB, 8K; LL, Hogan 7IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 7K.

2B — DAL, Kern. LL, VanGorder. 3B — LL, Hogan.

Top hitters — DAL, Kern 2-3. LL, Parry 3-3

Berwick 11, Coughlin 1 (5 inn.)

Coughlin`100`00`—`1

Berwick`000`65`—`11

Pitching — WP – Kylie Levan; LP – Molly Poray.

2B – BER, Levan, Stout, Maddy Lanning; HR – BER, Stout.

Top Hitters — COU, Morgan Daniels 1-3; Kendall Perage 1-2; BER, Lexi Fries 2-3; Shea Petty 4-4, RBI; Levan 3-4, 3 RBI; Brooke Stout 2-4, 4 RBI; Maddy Lanning 1-3.

Nanticoke 5, Tunkhannock 4

Nanticoke`400`000`1`—`5

Tunkhannock`000`301`0`—`4

Pitching — WP, Leandra Ramos 7 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO; LP, Hope Jones 7 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 2 SO.

3B — TUN, Jenna Simmons. HR — TUN, Sarah Traver.

Top Hitters — NAN, Cassie Novakowski 2-3, 2 RBI. TUN, Simmons 2-3, 2 RBI.

Pittston Area’s Abbey Bradigan keeps a close eye on the ball as she watches it pass her during the game against Wyoming Valley West in Kingston on Tuesday.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_TTL041316HSSoft-WVWPA1.jpgPittston Area’s Abbey Bradigan keeps a close eye on the ball as she watches it pass her during the game against Wyoming Valley West in Kingston on Tuesday. Sean McKeag | Times Leader

Wyoming Valley West’s Chloe Ruckle pitches the ball during the game against Pittston Area at the Wyoming Valley West softball field on Tuesday.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_TTL041316HSSoft-WVWPA3.jpgWyoming Valley West’s Chloe Ruckle pitches the ball during the game against Pittston Area at the Wyoming Valley West softball field on Tuesday. Sean McKeag | Times Leader

Pittston Area’s Taylor Baloga pitches to Wyoming Valley West’s Erin Gibbons at the Wyoming Valley West softball field on Tuesday.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_TTL041316HSSoft-WVWPA2.jpgPittston Area’s Taylor Baloga pitches to Wyoming Valley West’s Erin Gibbons at the Wyoming Valley West softball field on Tuesday. Sean McKeag | Times Leader

By John Erzar

jerzar@timesleader.com

Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar

Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar

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