Lions take third straight from Scranton

Colin Stauffer prepares for a plate appearance.
Colin Stauffer prepares for a plate appearance.

Dunmore, Pa. - Sophomore Brett Kosciolek (Tamaqua, Pa.) and freshman Wyatt Kindler (Mountain Top, Pa.) shut down the Scranton offense on Tuesday afternoon and pounded the opposition for an 11-1 road victory in seven innings. The win moves Hazleton to 3-1 in the Penn State University Athletic Conference in a tie with Wilkes-Barre for the top spot in the eastern division. 

Hazleton's two through five hitters, which included the pitching duo, dominated the Scranton staff, accounting for 11 of the Lions 12 hits on the afternoon. The Lions sent 17 batters to the plate in the first two innings alone, grabbing a 6-0 lead after 1.5 innings. Back to back hits by sophomore Colin Stauffer (Hazleton, Pa.) and Kosciolek issued Scranton an early two run deficit and when the order turned over in the next frame it was Kindler's turn to break out. The freshman center fielder doubled in the second inning to plate the Lions third score and following a walk to Stauffer, Kosciolek cleaned up the bases with a two RBI single extending Hazleton advantage to 5-0 and later scored on a passed ball. 

Scranton picked up a score in the bottom half of the second inning and silenced the Nittany Lion offense for the next several innings but ultimately, sloppy play allowed Hazleton to go up by double figures. Hazleton took advantage of three Scranton miscues to add four runs in the top of the fifth inning and tacked on the game-ending score in the seventh frame courtesy of another passed ball.

Regardless of the offensive outpour by Hazleton, the Lions pitching was on point all afternoon and never game the home squad any hope for a rally. Kosciolek got the starting nod and allowed just one run in four innings pitched. The sophomore scattered four hits during the outing and mowed down seven hitters via the strikeout. After Kosciolek exited, Kindler took over and closed the door with a stellar performance from the hill. The freshman faced the minimum over the final three innings, retiring nine straight to pick up a three inning save. 

Kosciolek picked up the win on the mound and ended the day 4-for-4 at the plate with three RBI to lead all hitters. Kindler was just as impressive in the batter's box as well, going 3-for-5 with two doubles, an RBI and three runs scored. Rounding out the Lions top hitters were Stauffer with a pair of base knocks and four runs scored and sophomore Dominic Yannuzzi who finished 2-for-3 on the day. 

Next up: Hazleton continues conference play with the Brandywine series on Thursday, April 4 and Sunday, April 7. The Lions head to Media, Pa. on Thursday for a nine inning contest at the Maple Zone Sports Complex at 5:00 p.m. and will return to Drifton, Pa. for a home double-header on Sunday afternoon.