The Tamaqua softball team may have been a little short-handed in its non-league contest with Lehighton, but the Indians didn't care.
After all, a win is a win.
Lehighton picked up arguably its biggest win of the year Friday afternoon, as the Indians came back to knock off Tamaqua 8-3. Lehighton scored in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead and later added four more insurance runs en route to the victory.
"Looking back at the wins we have had, I would say this is definitely one - if not the - biggest win of the year," said Lehighton head coach Todd Weaver "After what (Tamaqua) did to Northwestern I would say this is a very good win for us.
"I thought it was pretty even throughout. Our defense played well the entire game. Every aspect that we have been waiting for to kick in - kicked in, such as some timely hits. Earlier in the year we would let games like this get away. Now we have started to pick it up, we have more confidence and we think we can win."
Unfortunately for the Lady Raiders (9-7), they were without starting pitcher Allie Sotak and first-basemen Amy Zehner. Zehner had to miss the game due to a conflicting final, while Sotak missed the game for personal reasons.
"It is what it is," said Tamaqua head coach Jillian Barron. "I think we had a team here today that still could have won, but we just have a lot of mental issues right now."
With the score tied at three in the bottom of the fifth, the Indians' Ashley Sensinger stepped to the plate with a runner on third and two outs. Sensinger came through in the clutch and delivered with a RBI single to give her team a lead they would never relinquish.
Lehighton (5-10, 2-7) padded its lead an inning later with four more runs. Tamaqua's Angelica Heisler, who was starting in place of Sotak, allowed the first three runners to reach base and was pulled in favor of Chey Bates. However, Bates couldn't stop the bleeding as she walked in two runs and allowed another to score on a single before getting out of the inning.
The Indians' Krysten Breiner led off the sixth with a triple and was singled in by Brooke Lucykanish a batter later. Krista Rehrig and Emily Lauer each recorded RBIs via a bases loaded walk, while Jenna Smith knocked in a run with a single.
Meanwhile, the Raiders had all sorts of trouble driving in runs. They had at least one runner reach base in all seven innings, but only managed to score in two of them.
Tamaqua had runners on second and third with one out in the sixth and failed to get anything on the board. Then in the seventh, the Raiders would load the bases with two outs before grounding out to end the game. They left nine runners on base in the game.
"I always stress that we have to produce whenever the runners are on," said Barron. "We just didn't get the job done today.
"I think we were relying too much on Jordan Nowacki today. She has been producing and today was her off day. Somebody else had to pick her up and we didn't have anybody here to do that today."
Krissy Bates (2-for-4) and Chey Bates each had RBIs for Tamaqua. Nowacki finished the day 3-for-4 with three singles, but failed to drive in or score a run.
Every Lehighton player to get into the game either reached base via a hit or a walk. Breiner led the Indians with three hits, while Lucykanish added two. Teammates Ashley Otto and Julie Evans drove in runs as well.
"My goal for the rest of the season is that the girls continue to play like they did today," said Weaver. "Win or lose, I want them to play like they did today and show what they can do.
"Anytime we play like this, we will have a chance to win. So that's what I am shooting for. I just want them to play consistently."
Tamaqua 120 000 0 - 3 9 2
Lehighton 110 114 x - 8 10 3
Heisler, Bates (6) and Zancofsky; Evans and Smith. W - Evans, L - Heisler.