STROUDSBURG – Tamaqua's 11-12 Little League team put up a good fight in its Section 6 final on Tuesday, but in the end a powerful Warwick team was just too much to handle.
Warwick's offense, which has been a juggernaut dating all the way back to the start of district play, exploded for 15 runs in the fourth inning and ran away from Tamaqua 19-3 in four innings to win the Section 6 championship. Up until that point the game was tight as the locals trailed by just one heading into what would be the final inning. Unfortunately, three errors and two big home runs did them in.
"We played them tough early on," said Tamaqua manager Charlie Kistler. "I think we gave them like six outs in one inning. Like I said yesterday, the team that makes the least amount of errors usually ends up winning. That holds true today."
Warwick started off with two runs in the top of the first. Eric Gross singled with two outs to drive home a run. Another run scored on the play after a throwing error.
Still, Tamaqua did not shy away. With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the first, Zeke Wassell ripped a shot to first that ricocheted off the first baseman's glove and into the outfield. The ball kicked past the right fielder and allowed all three runners to score on the triple. It marked the first time since districts began that Warwick trailed at any point in a ball game.
"There was still a long way to go, but the kids didn't stop," said Kistler. "We kept on hitting for the most part. I think we mixed up some hits there in the beginning. Everything just fell apart in the fourth. We gave them six outs so there isn't much you can do with that."
Warwick added two runs in the third on a Casey Sloms home run before burying Tamaqua in the fourth.
Sloms added six more RBIs in the fourth, including a grand slam, to finish the day with eight RBIs. Teammate Matt Palmer connected for a three-run homer earlier in the inning. All-in-all, Warwick sent 18 batters to the plate in the inning. Nine of the first ten batters reached base and eventually scored. Tamaqua didn't help matters, as it committed three errors in the inning.
Sloms picked up the pitching victory for Warwick. After surrendering the three runs in the first, he allowed just two hits the rest of the way. The hard-throwing right-hander finished the game with seven strikeouts.
In addition to Wassell's triple, Thad Zuber, Josh Inama, Casey Rother and Riley McHugh all picked up singles for Tamaqua.
Although Tamaqua came up short of its goal, Kistler was still extremely happy with his team's play over the last few weeks. The only team his Tamaqua squad lost to in the sectional playoffs – Warwick – had yet to score less than ten runs in any game dating back to the start of districts.
"We take that with great pride," Kistler said. "It's a big area. I think it is down to 16 teams left in Pennsylvania and little Tamaqua is one of them.
"I love these kids. This team gave us as parents a great ride. They should be very proud of themselves."
Warwick 202 (15) - 19 12 1
Tamaqua 300 0 - 3 5 4
Sloms and Gross; Zuber, Scherer (4), Rother (4) and Inama. W – Sloms, L – Zuber. HR: W – Sloms 2 (3rd, one on and 4th, three on), Palmer (4th two on).