Blue Raiders' bats break out
bob ford/times news Panther Valley's Sam Zlock slides safely into third base as Tamaqua's Brianna Boyle awaits the throw.
Over the course of the season, Tamaqua has been searching for some consistency with its bats.
On the other hand, Panther Valley has been trying to overcome problems in the field..
Wednesday afternoon, the Blue Raiders were finally able to string together some key hits together and walked off with a 11-7 Schuylkill League Division I victory.
"The bats definitely came through today," Tamaqua coach Amanda Luna said. "We have been kind of hot and cold throughout the season and today was one of the first times we actually strung hits together. We have been having nice isolated hits here and there, but today we kind of strung together hit after hit. That was really important in helping us get the victory."
For the Panthers, errors once again that doomed their chances.
The Blue Raiders may have been able to muster a dozen hits off of Panther freshman Jess Snisky, but the Panther Valley defense didn't help matters as they committed seven errors in the field.
"Errors - they always kill you," Panther Valley coach James Gilbert said. "It has been the story all year - shaky defense. You have to have a solid defense. Snisky threw probably her best game all season as she only allowed one walk, but we have to help her out on the field. We made too many mistakes."
The Blue Raiders were able to collect a third of its hits, including a Kelsey Burkett two-run triple, in the first four innings. Five Panther miscues in that time made it a little easier for the visitors to take a lead.
The Panthers did stay close in those innings. The score was 6-3 after four, thanks to an Ashtin Walk fielder's choice RBI. Demi Ogozalek and Kristyn Gates showed aggressiveness on the base paths by scoring on wild pitches.
"Our girls were real aggressive today," Gilbert said. "It was probably the best hitting performance we had all season. The girls were up there and wanted to hit. They realized they were in a game. They tried to keep themselves in it, but we just have to attack the ball on defense."
It was in the sixth that Tamaqua put together its best hitting display as it batted around the order for the first time this season, rattling off five runs on six hits.
It was RBI singles from Burkett, Lauren Mateyak, Chey Bates and Brianna Boyle that helped the Raiders go up 11-3.
"We're both in the same situation," Luna said. "We're fighting for wins. We want these girls to get some more confidence as the season goes on and into next season. They all responded. When frustration sinks in and you start having a lot of losses in a row, it's tough.
"I'm real proud that they keep their heads up every game and they always come out and play hard for me no matter what."
The Panthers found some confidence themselves as they answered in the bottom half of the fifth inning with two runs.
Panther Valley added two more runs in the sixth inning as Sam Zlock scored on another Walck single. Demi Ogozalek, who was hit by a pitch, also scored on another wild pitch.
"We had an opportunity to get ahead early, but we fell behind," said Gilbert, whose Panthers stranded three runners on base in the first two innings. "It's hard to dig yourself out of a hole. But these girls fought hard today. They went after it."
Burkett paced the Blue Raiders with a 3-for-4 performance with two singles, a triple, two runs scored and two RBIs.
Gates and Walck led the Panthers with two singles, a run scored and two RBIs.
Tamaqua 031 250 0 - 11 12 3
Panther Vy. 002 122 0 - 7 8 7
Wagner, Sotak (4) and Zancofsky; Snisky and Ogozalek. W - Wagner. L - Snisky.