In a game where two teams had an identical number of hits and only minor discrepancies in runners left on base and errors, one might think the margin of victory would not be that great.
But that was not the case on this night, as Tamaqua made the most of its opportunities to defeat Jim Thorpe 7-0 in Schuylkill League action.
Both starters were in control early in the game, with the Raiders' Josh Zehner and the Olympians' Ian Sterling going toe-to-toe in what was a scoreless game until the fourth inning. In the top half of the fourth, Tamaqua's Bo Rottet started a rally with a one-out single that was followed by a sacrifice bunt from Troy Reinhardt to move Rottet to second. Matt Roberts was up next and smacked an RBI single to score Rottet and put Tamaqua on the board.
"We were able to play some baseball and move him (Rottet) over, use fundamentals, and get the key hit to knock somebody in," Tamaqua coach Jeff Reading said. "It was frustrating up to that point because we were...before that we were hitting the pitcher's pitch, we weren't hitting our pitch."
The Raiders would increase their advantage in the sixth, scoring five runs and adding another in the seventh to put the game out of reach for the Olympians.
"The kids stayed focused," Reading said. "And it's not that they (Jim Thorpe) misplayed the ball, but they didn't make some of the plays in the field and we were able to capitalize on some of those mistakes, too."
Another key to the Raiders victory was the dominant performance of starter Josh Zehner, who struck out eight over six innings and earned the win.
"Josh went out and had a great outing for us," said Reading. "He came out today and threw well. I'm very pleased with how he's been throwing."
The victory extends Tamaqua's winning streak to four games and builds off the momentum of weekend victories over Panther Valley and Schuylkill League power Tri-Valley.
"The kids have been working hard and they've been getting some confidence," Reading said. "This was our fourth game in four days and we had that doube-header (with Panther Valley and Tri-Valley) over the weekend.
"It was a big weekend, it was a team effort and everyone is contributing."
While Tamaqua (5-1) cashed-in on its opportunities, Jim Thorpe struggled to make the most of its chances, leaving seven on base and wasting a solid pitching performance from starter Ian Sterling, who went five innings and allowed only one run.
"I think our demise was not taking advantage of what we had in front of us in the first three innings," Jim Thorpe coach Gary Heydt said. "We took them out of the game a little bit but we didn't capitalize."
"This team needs confidence. We haven't been playing well. They jumped on us first and that takes us out of the game. We're down and we're just trying to dig ourselves out of a hole right now."
Pat Duvigneaud paced the Olympians (1-6) with two singles.
Tamaqua 000 105 1 - 7 6 2
Jim Thorpe 000 000 0 - 0 6 3
Zehner, Kosciolek (7) and Matsago; Sterling, Peters (6), McEmoyle (7) and Duvigneaud. W - Zehner. L - Sterling.