CONYNGHAM There was a chance to play in Saturday's District 18 10-11 year old Little League Tournament championship game on the line.
When the dust cleared after the six innings, Tamaqua Blue was the one who got enough down on both sides of the ball to pull out a 11-6 victory over Franklin Township.
Franklin Township will now travel back to Conyngham this evening to face Valley East in the loser's bracket final at 6 p.m. The winner will then take on Tamaqua Blue at 2 p.m. on Saturday. If Tamaqua Blue wins, it will move on to sectionals next week at Franklin Township. If it loses, there will be a deciding game between Blue and Saturday's winner on Sunday at 2 p.m.
"We didn't hit the ball well," said Tamaqua manager Kistler said. "We hit the ball good enough to win the game. On top of it, our defense held strong enough throughout to make it possible for us to play in the championship game."
Franklin Township pitcher Jonathan Herman allowed five walks in the opening inning, while an added throwing miscue made it much easier for Tamaqua Blue to build a 4-0 lead without a single hit.
Just like Kistler expected however, Franklin Township didn't take long to answer back in the bottom half of the inning.
Franklin Township drew two walks from Tamaqua Blue pitcher Casey Rother, but it was Daniel Keer's two-run single that put them on the scoreboard as well.
"That team gives us trouble every time we play them," Kistler stressed. "Every single time they do.
"My hat goes off to them. They didn't give up at all tonight."
After Franklin Township made it a one-run game in the bottom of the third, Tamaqua Blue gave itself some breathing room. It was able to do so by collecting the most hits in a single inning all game in the fourth.
Cody Scherer, who was 3-for-3 with two walks, led off the inning with his second double of the game.
Thad Zuber singled and Rother followed with a fielder's choice RBI to score Scherer. Zuber scored shortly afterward as Franklin Township committed another throwing error in the inning.
Zeke Wassel followed with a triple and crossed home plate on a Josh Inama RBI single, which gave Tamaqua Blue an 8-4 lead after four.
After Scherer scored his fourth run on another error in the fifth, Franklin Township's Gabe Wagner cut the deficit from five to three (9-6) with a two-run single to right field.
But another three fielding errors for Franklin Township helped Tamaqua Blue pull away in the last inning.
After doubling to left field, Tamaqua Blue's Josh Inama scored on two throwing errors. Matt Weaver, who singled and then moved to third on a Scherer double, scored on another Franklin Township throwing error to end the game's scoring.
"We have a good hitting team," Franklin Township manager Ryan Wentz said. "But we just didn't do it on the field today. We'll come back tomorrow and play Valley East and do our best to get to the championship game.
"Legitimately, we had a shot at winning this game. But, there's nothing there that we saw that we could do if we just played better."
Tam. Blue 410 312 - 11 10 2
Franklin Twp. 211 020 - 6 6 7
Rother, Wassel (2) and Inama, Scherer (4); Herman, Bokan (1), Haupt (4) and Wagner. W - Rother. L - Herman.