After winning the first game in the best-of-three District 18 9-10 Little League Championship Series Thursday night, Tamaqua Blue knew what it had to do in Friday night's second game.
With its job laid out in front of it, Tamaqua defeated Valley West, 7-3, at Jim Thorpe's McGarvey Field to pull off the sweep and celebrate the title.
With the scouting report for Valley West, Tamaqua head coach Scott Hamm did not want to take any chances with another game tonight.
"We definitely didn't want to play a third game," Hamm said. "Valley West has a very tough team and we had heard that they 10-run ruled plenty of teams coming into this."
After the visitors mounted a 2-0 lead in the top of the second,Tamaqua scored three in the bottom of the frame and another in the third to take control. Tamaqua Blue added a single run in the fourth and two more in the fifth, and when the final out was made, the hosts exulted in the infield.
"All 12 kids played hard for us and they all contributed to these wins," Hamm said. "We stressed to them to have fun and that if they did, they would play hard."
With the win, Tamaqua Blue will advance on to the Sectional portion of the tournament. It will travel to Perkasie on Tuesday night for a 5 p.m. start against the District 29 winner.
In the second inning, things looked to be going in favor of Valley West as it had a 1-0 lead and the bases loaded.
After holding them to a sole run in that frame, the Tamaqua knew it had stifled a VW momentum builder and swung it in its favor.
"Even though our kids played tough, I thought we had committed too many mistakes," Valley West head coach Al Wolk said. "If you take those away, it's a much closer game."
A benefactor of five errors by Valley West and a grouping of wild pitches, Tamaqua managed to convert the mistakes into runs thanks to some aggressive baserunning.
"Sometimes, our aggressive base-running bites us," Hamm said. "But I think our team is very fast and we need to take advantage of that. It makes us tough."
After the visitors cut the lead to 4-3 in the top of the fourth, Tamaqua went right back to work. Brayden Knoblauch reached on an error to lead off. After consecutive fly outs, Valley West seemed to be on its way out of the inning. However, an error advanced the runners and a wild pitch eventually scored Knoblauch.
In the bottom of the fifth, Brady Moyer started Tamaqua's charge with a ground-rule double and Michael Bonetsky followed with a single and made it to second on the throw. Another wild pitch scored pinch runner Brandon Mader. Nicholas Onea then came through with a RBI single to balloon the Tamaqua lead to 7-3.
Reliever Cody Hamm came on in the top of the sixth to strike out two batters, and after a ground out, the celebration ensued.
In the game, Tamaqua was led offensively by 3-for-3, two RBI performances from Bonetsky. Brady Moyer and Hamm both added two hits.
For Valley West, Brady Antolick had two hits..
When asked about how they were going to prepare for the next round, Hamm said, "We're taking the weekend off to enjoy this, but Monday night we're going right back to practicing the things that keep us hot."
Valley West 110 100 - 3 5 5
Tamaqua Blue 031 12x - 7 9 0
Antolick, Witner (5) and Zabiegalski; Moyer, Hamm (4) and Breiner. WP - Moyer.