Friday contest between the Franklin Township Hurricanes and the Towamensing Township Yankees started off with all the makings of a heavyweight battle.
It wasn't until the sixth inning that one team proved to be too much for the other to handle.
The Hurricanes, the first place team in the Keystone Babe Ruth National League, used a four-run sixth inning to pull away from the Yankees, the American League leaders. That inning, combined with a three-hitter from Jeff Noyes, led to a 6-1 victory for the 'Canes.
"We kept chipping away," said Franklin manager Rick Strohl. "Finally a couple of breaks went our way and we were able to put a few runs on the board.
"Jeff threw a good game. He has been pitching well. He hadn't given up an earned run in his first two starts. He has been throwing pretty well and he just continued to do that today."
Noyes walked the first batter he faced and then gave up a run-scoring double to Joe Tayhla. After that, Noyes was practically un-hittable. The right-hander from Palmerton went on to surrender just two more hits (both singles) the rest of the way.
The game was neck-and-neck for the first five innings. The Hurricanes (10-1) led by one and had six hits at the time. However, all but one of those hits were singles. Franklin did have some other runners in scoring position, but couldn't get them in.
Meanwhile, the Yankees (6-4) continued to have problems scoring runs of their own. The Yanks managed to get only one base runner to third after scoring their initial run. Although the game would eventually get away from them, manager Don Hunter was pleased with the way his team hung around with arguably the best team in either league.
"We had just beaten an undefeated team the other night, so we knew we could stay with them," said Hunter. "We did, but I told the team that one run wasn't going to win a game in this league. Neither will the errors.
"Still, I am confident that we can get back on the right track. If the kids come into the next game with a winner's mentality then we should be alright."
Franklin began the sixth by loading the bases on two singles and a walk. Alex Matika then stepped to the dish and delivered with a two-RBI single to widen the gap. The 'Canes would go on to score two more runs thanks to RBI-singles from Cole Rex and Kyle Hardy.
"Defensively we made some mistakes," said Hunter. "It over-taxed our pitcher and made him throw extra pitches. When you have a pitcher out there for a long time, even if he has good stuff, you are eventually going to lose it."
Cole Kerschner drove in a run in the first on a single, while teammate Dave Behler knocked in the other run in the third on a sacrifice fly.
"I feel that we can beat anybody," admitted Strohl. "I think we have a good shot to win the league. We have a good team and a good bunch of guys. I am really excited to see where we go from here."
FT Hurricanes 101 004 0 - 6 12 3
TT Yankees 100 000 0 - 1 3 2
Noyes and DeMarco; Haney, Augustine (6) and Labyack, Haney (7). W - Noyes. L - Haney.