Tamaqua used its high-powered offense to pound out twelve hits and defeat Valley West, 10-7, on Thursday night in the opening game of the District 18 9-10 year-old Little League best-of-three championship series.
Everyone in the Tamaqua lineup contributed to the win as it utilized some timely hitting and a gut check on its resolve to hold off a late charge by Valley West.
"These kids never get down and there were some hot sticks in the lineup," Tamaqua head coach Scott Hamm said. "There's no definite top or bottom to our lineup. Everyone in it has the ability to contribute as we saw tonight."
Early on, it was the pitching of Tamaqua's Matt Gazdick that kept the visitors' offense at bay.
"I'm proud of the way Matt Gazdick pitched for us tonight," Hamm said. "He pitched a tough game out there and his wind-up had them off balance the entire game."
Meanwhile, with Tamaqua's defense doing its job, its offense went to work.
After Valley West put a sole run up in the bottom of the first, Tamaqua erupted for a four-run second.
Gazdick helped his own effort at the plate by leading off with a ground-rule double. Brady Moyer followed with a single and two batters later, Cody Hamm smacked a two-run double to get his team on the board. Nate Boyle followed with a double to score another run before a wild pitch scored pinch runner Nicholas Onca.
In the bottom of the second, though, Valley came right back with another single run, as Aiden Zabiegalski and Andrew Vayda both had singles.
Tamaqua opened up some breathing room by taking advantage of some Valley West miscues to score three times in the fourth inning and twice in the fifth.
In the bottom of the fifth, Valley West showed its strength by scoring five runs. Highlighting the efforts were Ryan Wolk's RBI double and RBI singles by both Brady Antolick and Larry Zapotocky.
"I'm happy with the way our team hung in there and battled back," Valley West head coach Al Wolk said. "Tamaqua got the lead early, but we held in there and our kids did their job."
Tamaqua will try to wrap up the championship series tonight at 6 p.m. at McGarvey's Field in Jim Thorpe.
Tamaqua 041 320 - 10 12 3
Valley West 110 050 - 7 6 6
Gazdick, Boyle (5) and Breiner; Degaetano, Zientek (4), Antolick (4), Vayda (5), Witner (6) and Zabiegalski, Stefanick (3). W-Gazdick. L-Degaetano.