After finding their way into the losers bracket and their backs against the wall, the Franklin Township Shockers knew there was only one thing for them to do: Win.
A five-run second inning boosted starting pitcher Anthony Rossino as the Shockers stay alive by downing the Towamensing Yankees 8-2 in the Keystone Babe Ruth playoffs last night.
"They came out a little lethargic and they began to swing the bats in the middle innings, capitalized on a couple of their miscues and came out with a [win]," Shocker coach Donnie Rehrig said.
Towamensing's Rich Steigerwalt (2-for-3) singled and Mike Horvath walked to start the second inning. Rossino saw trouble brewing and made the necessary adjustments to force three outs including a strikeout of Dan Honey to end the threat.
"Early on I wasn't throwing strikes, so I had to start throwing strikes and let the team field the ball," said Rossino.
Rossino only allowed one more unearned run before A.J. Weinrich relieved him in the sixth inning and registered six straight outs to end the game.
"He starts off slow and once he gets into his rhythm he finds himself out there," Rehrig said of Rossino. "He pitches to contact and relies on his team to make defensive plays out there. We're pretty tough to beat with him throwing strikes out there."
The bottom of the inning, the Shockers offense opened up the game. Yankee starter Joe Tyahla walked Alex Storm to start the frame. They then bookended two hit-batsmen with a single by Jayden Hensley and the game was tied 1-1.
The big hit of the game came from the bat of Rossino who drove in the eventual winning run by ripping a double to the gap that plated two more. He later scored on Parker David's single.
"We are just jumping on the first pitch fastballs and putting them in play and then just stealing bases," Rossino said.
In the third inning, Alex Storm led off with a single and Joe Oriel reached on an error. When Hensley walked to load the bases, Towamensing manager Don Hunter changed pitchers. With the bases jammed and no outs, Gabby Augustine came in and minimized the damage allowing only one run to score.
Weinrich and Storm each added an RBI hit in the fourth inning to put the game away.
"It was tough. We got a one run lead and gave it right back," Hunter said. "We walk the leadoff hitter and hit a couple batters. It makes it tough because if the lead off runner gets on they score more often than not."
The Towamensing Yankees had a promising start to the season winning five of their first seven games. The injury bug swept their pitching and they ended their regular season with a 7-11 mark.
"We had a core of players really dedicated on this team. In some games we had ten show up and they had to play." Hunter said.
The Shockers (9-11) move on to play the loser of Saturday's game between Panther Valley and McAdoo-Weatherly. The game will be played Sunday at a site to be determined.
Rehrig said they split both games with Panther Valley and lost two close games to McAdoo.
"We're pretty optimistic in going into the loser of that game and hopefully we could keep winning and get to the championship."
Towamensing 010 001 0 – 2 5 2
FT Shockers 051 200 x – 8 7 1
Tyhala, Augustine (3), and Sander; Rossino, Weinrich(6), and Farano. W – Rossino. L – Tyhala.