’Lopes have 16-run inning to put away Flames

Avonworth’s Jack Reed slides into second base as Northgate’s Anthony Barbarino reaches for the ball in Wednesday’s match-up for the two local baseball teams. The Antelopes scored 16 runs in one inning to defeat the Flames 26-0. Photo by Caroline Penrod for The Citizen

By JIM RUMBLE

Earlier this past week, playoff hopes were alive for the Northgate Flames baseball team but the odds were stacked against them as they would need wins against the co-leaders of their section to finish out section play.

Northgate hosted Our Lady Of Sacred Heart this past Tuesday and lost 9-0. The next day the Flames hosted Avonworth and were defeated soundly 26-0.

Although Northgate will miss the WPIAL playoffs, Avonworth finished the regular season as co-champions with OLSH atop 2A Section 4 as the playoff pairings will be announced today.

"Our seniors have been doing an outstanding job and they just lead by example," said 'Lopes coach Dan Pomposelli.

Against the Flames, Avonworth pitcher Jake Gustic earned the victory and had a no-hitter going until Northgate's Vito Pascale delivered a base hit to left field in the final inning of play.

"It was the second time in his last two outings that he [Gustic] had a no-hitter going," said Pomposelli.

Base hits by Jack Reed and Jax Miller got things started for Avonworth and Turner Grau's infield ground-out produced a run, but Northgate pitcher Clayton Cooper was able to pitch out of a jam while the 'Lopes led 1-0.

Gustic recorded three of his six strike-outs in the bottom of the first to end that inning but Northgate's Clayton would get chased from the mound when Avonworth came to bat in the top of the second.

Reed drove in a run for the Antelopes after base hits by Jake Sommers and Noah Osborn to start the inning and Miller delivered a two-run double that put Avonworth up 4-0.

Grau followed with a two-run homer over the right field fence and Park Penrod brought Gustic home with an infield hit after Gustic reached base on an error facing Flames pitcher Xavier Nelson. Avonworth's lead was now 7-0.

In the top of the third, a base hit by Patrick Gannon, a walk issued to Miller and a base hit by Grau loaded the bases when Ryan Felter drove in two runs with a base hit to left field. Tim Stewart brought Grau home with a base hit to up the Antelopes’ lead to 10-0.

With Northgate pitchers Pascale and Davonte Christie splitting time on the mound in the top of the fifth, Avonworth teed off at the plate on offense but walks issued by both pitchers and four fielding errors defensively added to the carnage.

Grau's three-run homer capped a 16-run inning that led to the 26-0 victory for the Antelopes.