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H.S. Baseball: Cougars claw way past Neshaminy into 6A state semifinals

Jun. 8—CENTER VALLEY — Hazleton Area's path to a victory Friday looked quite familiar.

The Cougars used it in their PIAA Class 6A baseball first-round win a few days earlier.

Lefty Antonio Doganiero threw a complete-game shutout, the offense made the most of limited opportunities and the defense was flawless as Hazleton Area defeated Neshaminy 2-0 in a quarterfinal game at DeSales University.

District 2 champion Hazleton Area (21-4) moves to Monday's semifinals against D12 champion La Salle College (23-3) at 4 p.m. at DeSales. La Salle outlasted D1 champ Downingtown East 1-0 in 15 innings.

Doganiero's shutout came after Jonas Aponick did the same in a 1-0 first-round win against Central Bucks East.

"That's what you need," Hazleton Area coach Russ Canzler said. "You need seniors like Jonas Aponick and Doganiero to step up in these types of games. They have a ton of experience and are showing why they are getting opportunities to pitch at the next level."

Doganiero, who will pitch at Pitt next year, struck out seven and allowed no hits and just two base runners — both on walks — after the second inning. He gave up a game-opening single and consecutive singles with one out in the second inning. He erased that threat with two strikeouts.

"I just try to change it up batter to batter," Doganiero said. "Start guys backwards (with) a first-pitch curveball. I attack guys different ways throughout the lineup."

Hazleton Area struggled again with generating offense. The Cougars finished with three hits; they had two against CB East. They scored their first run without the benefit of a hit.

Jamie Martoccio led off the fourth by getting hit by a pitch. Ryan Schmidt pinch ran for him and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Nick Ledger. Schmidt then moved to third on a wild pitch in the dirt.

Sensing runs might be scarce, Neshaminy brought the infield in. Shea Higgins hit a high chopper to Neshaminy first baseman Stone Powell. Powell's only hope was nailing Schmidt at the plate, but even an on-target throw wouldn't have gotten Schmidt.

Hazleton Area's other run came in the sixth. Nick Ledger reached on a two-base error. Bryant Diaz ran for him and scored on Higgins' single to right.

"We take a lot of pride in our baserunning," Canzler said. "Bats are going to dry up at times. Then you go to getting on base, baserunning, defense and situational things."

The Hazleton Area infield was busy Friday. Aside from three singles, a flyout accounted for the only other time Neshaminy hit the ball out of the infield. Higgins at second fielded four consecutive grounders in the sixth and seventh innings.

"Couldn't be more proud of Antonio," Canzler said. "They hit him — led off the game with a first-pitch single — and that was pretty much it."

PIAA Class 6A Quarterfinals

Hazleton Area 2, Neshaminy 0

Neshaminy'AB'R'H'BI

Trommer cf'1'0'1'0

Wilmont rf'1'0'0'0

Sassano ph-lf'1'0'0'0

Lall 3b'3'0'0'0

J.Bonner lf-cf'3'0'0'0

Powell 1b'3'0'0'0

C.Bonner ss'3'0'0'0

Nocito rf-cf-lf'2'0'1'0

Plebani c'3'0'1'0

Triano cr'0'0'0'0

Wallace dh'3'0'0'0

Schweiker p'0'0'0'0

Martin p'0'0'0'0

Hunter 2b'1'0'0'0

Totals'24'0'3'0

Hazleton Area'AB'R'H'BI

Hearity lf'1'0'0'0

Florentino rf'3'0'1'0

Martoccio 3b'3'0'0'0

Schmidt pr'0'1'0'0

Ledger c'2'0'0'0

Diaz pr'0'1'0'0

Higgins 2b'3'0'1'2

Pecora pr'0'0'0'0

Marino dh'3'0'0'0

Doganiero p'0'0'0'0

Rossi cf'2'0'0'0

Aponick ss'1'0'0'0

Racho 1b'2'0'1'0

Totals'20'2'3'2

Neshaminy'000'000'0 — 0

Hazleton Area'000'101'x — 2

E — Neshaminy 1. DP — Neshaminy 2. LOB — Neshaminy 5, Hazleton Area 4. SB — Trommer, Triano, Racho. SAC — Ledger.

Neshaminy'IP'H'R'ER'BB'SO

Schweiker (L)'4.2'1'1'1'1'5

Martin'1.1'2'1'0'1'1

Hazleton Area'IP'H'R'ER'BB'SO

Doganiero (W)'7'3'0'0'2'7

HBP — Hearity (by Schweiker), Martoccio (by Schweiker).