Hazleton Opens 2018 Campaign, Falls to Kankakee CC in Opener

The 2018 Penn State Hazleton Nittany Lion baseball team after their opener in Myrtle Beach, SC
The 2018 Penn State Hazleton Nittany Lion baseball team after their opener in Myrtle Beach, SC

The 2018 edition of the Penn State Hazleton baseball team had to delay their Friday departure to Myrtle Beach, SC due to heavy snow and gusting winds but the storms were no match for the firepower that defending 2018 National Junior College Athletic Association DII National Champion Kankakee Community College put on display in both teams opener.  Kankakee exploded for 17 runs on 10 hits and held Hazleton to 2 runs on 7 hits in twerrheir 17-2 win. 

Playing with only 13 men on the roster, Hazleton ran through five pitchers in the tilt; experiencing problems finding the strike zone walking 18 batters and giving up 11 earned runs in the game. Adam Michalesko  got the start for Hazleton and took the loss pitching 2.2 innings, giving up 6 runs - all earned, issuing 3 hits, 3 K's and 6 BB's and hitting 1 batter. Charles Karchner came in to relieve Michalesko tossing 1.1 innings while Tanner Lawrence, Luis Tejeda, and Dominic Yannuzzi all took the mound for Hazleton.  Tyler Guertin threw a complete game for the Cavaliers giving up 2 runs - 1 earned, 7 hits and 9 K's while issuing only 1 BB.

 Hazleton actually hung with Kankakee up until the third inning.  Kanakakee opened up the game scoring methodically and fundamentally. A lead-off walk by Dylan Dodd, a SAC bunt by Bryce Butler, and an RBI single by Anthony Cocco put the Cavaliers on the board right away.  Hazleton responded in the second when with one out, Karchner slammed a double to the left-center gap.  After a strikeout for the second out, the Cavalier's right fielder misplayed a Colin Stauffer line drive and the Nittany Lions tied the game at one apiece.

In the third, Micahlesko hit the wall and the Cavalier bats came alive.  Kankakee scored five runs in the inning and chased Michalesko who was relieved by Karchner. Hazlton responded in the bottom of the frame on a lead-off single by Tim Kindler followed up by a Dominic Yannuzzi infield single; then after a strike out, Tanner Lawrence chopped ball down the third base line and beat the throw allowing Kindler to score. 

Kankakee kept up the scoring pace pushing 4 runs across in the fourth inning, 4 more in the 5th and the 2 in 7th frame to bring the 10 run mercy rule into affect. The Cavaliers were led by Hayden Stowers three singles and 1 RBI.  Yannuzzi had 2 singles for Hazleton while Karchner had a single and a double with a run scored.  Lawrence added a single and an RBI while Kindler and Jonathan Ortiz added singles for the Nittany Lions.

With the loss, Hazleton went to 0-1 on the year while Kankakee starts out at 1-0.  Hazleton gets back into action right away tomorrow with a morning game against PSUAC West foe and defending 2017 PSUACC Champion Mont Alto.  The game will be played at Socatee HS.