CONYNGHAM Tamaqua Blue manager Ed Titus was able to manage a smile.
It would be easy to understand if Titus had a frown on his face or was displaying some frustration. Afterall, his team had just been routed by Valley West, 21-3, in the District 18 9-10 year old Little League Tournament.
But Titus choose to stay positive.
"There's tomorrow," Titus stressed.
That might be the biggest positive the Tamaqua Blue team can take away from the loss. Despire the lopsided setback, Tamaqua still has a chance for redemption. It will visiti Conyngham again this evening at 6 p.m. for game two of the best-of-three championship series.
"There's a smile on my face for a reason," Titus said. "I'm not really down in the dumps because I'm sure we'll bounch back.
"We had to burn some pitching against Jim Thorpe (in the South Division tournament). So, we shall see what happens tomorrow."
Valley West banged out 13 hits and needed just four innings to post the mercy-rule victory. As happy as we was with the result, Valley West manager Bob Bartal knows this series still has a way to go.
"The first game is always important in a three-game series," Bartal said. "We're not foolish enough, however, to think that Tamaqua gave us their best game tonight. I know from everything I've read and heard about that they're a much better team than tonight.
"So, we know this series isn't over after one game."
It was all Valley West Thursday evening.
Valley West was disciplined at the plate in the first inning as it took advantage of four free passes and a hit-batsmen to score seven times. Andrew Vayda's RBI single was the key hit.
In the second, Valley West exploded for 13 more runs to blow things open. The hosts sent 17 hitters to the plate and produced 11 hits. Kyra Antolick led the barrage with a two-run single in her first at-bat in the inning and a RBI single in her second at-bat. Jordon Stefanick recorded a RBI double while Jake Marnell added a RBI triple in that same inning.
"The first inning we gave up a lot of walks," Titus said. "The second inning they started hitting the ball. We didn't do the things we normally do. We missed some cut-off people and made some other mental errors and they took extra bases on us."
While things settled down in the third and fourth innings for the Tamaqua pitching staff and defense, the damage had already been done..
Titus was anxious to put the opening game behind him and look ahead in the next game.
"I'm certain we will be ready to play," Titus said. "This is a good group of kids. We put in a lot of time into picking these 12 kids. I know they will bounce back. That's why I have a smile on my face. I know they will."
Valley West 7(13)1 0 - 21 13 3
Tamaqua Blue 201 0 - 3 3 2
Vayda, Zientak (2), L. Book (3) and McGowan, Labuda (4); Minehan, Agosti (1), Steigerwalt (2), Noftz (3), Sell (4) and Titus. W - Vayda. L - Minehan.