Lansford Little League coach Tim Goida preaches putting the ball in play.
On Friday night his team did just that, racking up nine hits in a convincing 14-2 victory over rival Anthracite in the opening round of the District 18 11-12 year-old tournament..
"We hit the ball, we always hit the ball," Goida said. "We've hit it all year and pitchers usually pitch the whole game against us because we swing the bats and put a lot of balls in play."
Lansford's Wyatt Zimmerman got the scoring started early, scorching a ball over the right centerfield fence for a two-run homer. Tristan Blasko followed with a double and later came around to score on Anthony Prudente's sacrifice, giving the team a 3-0 lead.
Anthracite loaded the bases with three straight one-out walks in the bottom of the second, but couldn't capitalize on the scoring opportunity.
Keith McCall finally got Anthracite on the board in the bottom of the third, smashing a two-run homer over the centerfield wall to cut the deficit to 3-2, putting the outcome in doubt.
But Lansford answered in the top of the fourth with three runs on the strength of Bradley Buzzard's two-run double and an Anthracite throwing error that allowed Blasko to score, pushing the lead to 6-2.
Blasko came up again in the fifth and ripped a solo home run that got out in a hurry, and the rout was on from there. Lansford would bat around in the inning, scoring eight runs on four hits while also taking advanatge of six Anthracite walks.
Blasko finished the contest 4-for-4, falling just a triple shy of the cycle.
Goida had high praise for Blasko and what he means to his maturing club.
"All the kids look up to him," Goida said of Blasko. "Tristan does what he does well and he doesn't get pitched to often.
"But it's tough to pitch around anybody in our lineup because we put everything in play. We like to bunt; we like to put pressure on people."
That pressure was evident throughout, as Lansford seemed to take Anthracite's pitchers out of any kind of rhythm from the early going.
"We'll be aggressive and that's just the way we're going to play," Goida said. "You've got to put pressure on them, and 11 and 12-year olds like to throw the ball around."
Goida's squad dealt with adversity last year, which has allowed his team to play with more confidence this season.
"I hope Anthracite's in our position next year with the young guys that they have," Goida said. "We took our lumps last year and its paying off this year.
"All of these guys have played together for four or five years and it's really showing now."
Anthracite coach Doug Yoder is hoping it won't be long before his squad is where Goida's is.
"We have a lot of younger guys coming up," Yoder said. "They're good players and I think next year we'll do a lot better.
"Lansford has some guys that took their lumps last year like we're taking this year. They've been crushing the ball all year and they deserved to win today."
Lansford 300 38 - 14 9 1
Anthracite 002 00 - 2 2 1
Blasko, Buzzard (3), Distler (5) and M. Goida; Robin, Miller (4), Taras (5) and Binder. W - Blasko. L - Robin. HR - Lansford: Zimmerman (1st, one on), Blasko (4th, none on). Anthracite: McCall (3rd, one on).