BERWICK — Pittston Area’s road to a state championship came to a close on Sunday, July 19.
The local Senior Softball team finished its season by placing second at the state tournament. In the past two seasons, Pittston Area has finished in the top-3 in the state.
After going 2-1 through the first set of games, Pittston Area had a chance at redemption against Bristol Borough, a perennial powerhouse in the state. The locals fell to Bristol on Friday, July 17, 12-2. They had their redemption on Sunday, July 19, but had to beat Bristol twice.
“It was a goal to get to that point after last year,” Pittston Area coach Vito Quaglia said. “They saw the level of competition and the nucleus of our team has played together for several years. They have that common bond and are constantly trying to get better.”
Pittston Area was able to cut Bristol’s lead to 2-1 in the fourth inning. Mindina Lieback scored on a Kerry Shamnoski RBI single.
Bristol took a commanding lead after Lieback scored. Tiana Nelson scored on a single by Tianna Brenington and a fielding error. The clincher came when Stephanie Wolf hit a three-run home run, scoring herself, Alyssa Adams and Brenington.
“Pretty much every year (Bristol) is in the contention for the championship,” Quaglia said. “They are made up of several schools so they are drawing from a big group. They are pretty strong.”
Quaglia’s daughter, Dominique, started the game for Pittston Area and held Bristol in check until the fourth inning. Offense, however, was the Achilles heel for the locals against Bristol. In the first meeting, Pittston Area had just six hits. In the championship series, it had just four.
“We couldn’t take much advantage,” Quaglia said. “We had to play great defense and score a run an inning. They 10-runned everyone they played except for us in the last game.”
To get to the championship game, Pittston Area had to defeat Pocono Mountain East in a game on Saturday, July 18. The team did just that.
With an 11-2 win, Pittston Area punched its ticket to the title game. Alexa McHugh picked up the win while striking out six and allowed just five hits over seven innings.
Pittston Area finished with 14 hits. Mindina Lieback and Rachel Kochanowski had three hits apiece. McHugh was 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three runs. Dominique Quaglia had two hits and one RBI.
Pittston Area was crowned District 16 champions on July 1. Just a week later, thanks to a forfeit, the team was named Section 5 champions after a decision against Old Forge. Pittston Area beat Old Forge in the first game.
“It was neat to get to that game again and see what we can do,” Quaglia said.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick