Most coaches would be content with a win, no matter what form it comes in. Such was the case last night, as Tamaqua continued on with its winning ways in beating Pine Grove 8-6 to move into the winner's bracket finals of the Schuylkill-Berks Legion League playoffs.
After easily cruising out to a 5-0 lead through three innings, the Blue Sox seemed to take their foot off gas, allowing their counterparts to storm back to tie things up, before some late-game heroics pulled out the win.
"The guys came back," Tamaqua Head Coach Mark Streisel mentioned following the game. "After the game was tied up, they did what they had to do to win."
After Pine Grove tied things up in the fifth frame, Tamaqua turned up the defense and the offense In the bottom of the fifth, Chris Pilla's two-run double gave his team back the lead and teammate Ty Rother followed immediately with a RBI single. That proved to be all that the Blue Sox would need, as the visitors' comeback attempt was limited to a single run in the top of the final inning to take the win.
Early on, the locals took a 2-0 lead in the first frame on four hits to get things started.
In the bottom of the third, Chris Pilla stepped to the plate and took the ball over the opposite field fence to provide his team with some insurance. Rother followed with another of his three total singles in the game. After a ground out, starting Tamaqua pitcher produced a RBI-triple to give his team a 5-0 lead.
Rather than rolling over and giving up, Pine Grove responded by putting up three runs in the top of the fourth. A routine pop-up was dropped in the infield and three straight walks forced in a run and loaded the bases. A sacrifice fly brought in another run and a fielder's choice plated the third run.
In the top of the fifth, Jordan Blankenmayer had a two-RBI single to get his squad even at 5-5.
For the game, Chris Pilla led Tamaqua with three hits (solo homer, double, single, three RBIs), with Rother contributing three singles in a 3-for-4 performance at the plate. Heisler was 2-for-4 with a triple and also did a great job, limiting Pine Grove's offense throughout the first four frames from the mound.
For Pine Grove, who only had four hits, Blankenmayer had two hits, with teammates Ryan Boyer and Trent Mars adding the other two hits.
With the win, Tamaqua moves on to play at Southern Area tonight at 5:30 p.m.
Pine Grove 000 320 1 - 6 4 1
Tamaqua 203 003 x - 8 11 1
Hafer, Blankenhorn (6) and Zimmerman; Heisler, C. Pilla (5), Milot (7) and Streisel. WP - C. Pilla, LP - Blankenhorn. HR: T - C. Pilla (3rd, none on).