Herberner homer ousts Tamaqua
For most of the game, Freeland's Eddie Herberner struggled to get his bat on the ball.
After striking out twice and walking in his first three plate appearances, Herberner finally made solid contact.
With two outs and two strikes against him in the bottom of the sixth inning, Herbener delivered a walk-off two-run homer to lift Freeland to a 12-10 District 18 11-12 year old Little League Tournament victory over Tamaqua.
"That kid (Herbener) basically didn't touch a curve ball all game," Tamaqua manager Ed Titus said. "We hit him with a curve ball there. It hung up there and everyone saw what it did with it he deposited it.
"I would hit him again with another curve ball and see what happens."
Unfortunately for Tamaqua, it won't get that chance as Herberner's home run ousted it from the double elimnination tournament.
Meanwhile, Freeland moves on to play Valley East on Wednesday in the loser's bracket semifinal.
"We have the utmost respect for Tamaqua," Freeland manager Ryan Jastremsky said. "They have been the benched mark program for District 18 for the last 10-15 years. it was a super win for our program to come down here and pull out a game like this out.
"We fell behind 4-0 and 8-5, but we kept going. The kids didn't give up."
Tamaqua took that 4-0 lead in the first inning on a Teague Schmidt three-run homer and a Freeland miscue that scored Eddie Titus.
Freeland used a pair of four-run innings to eventually take a 9-8 lead. A an inside the park three-run homer in the first by Tyler Fancher and bloop hit by Nick Young that turned into a three-run triple in the fourth were the key blows for Freeland.
"Those two hits down the first base line were tough to swallow," said Titus, of the hits by Fancher and Young. "But, what else can I say? I can't change the outcome of the game. But, it still doesn't change how I feel. I'm just really proud of this group of kids. They kept playing hard right up until the end of the game."
Tamaqua regained the lead in the top of the fifth when Mitch Miller singled and eventually scored on Bernie Gigli single. Gigli then scored on a Tyler Hamm fielder's choice RBI.
After Freeland knotted the game at 10-10 in the bottom of the fifth, it was Herbener who answered the call for the visitors.
"Eddie was due," Jastremski said. "He had a rough game on Friday night and then he had a rough start here. But, tonight, he came through when we needed him to."
Ethan Kuczynski (two singles, two runs scored, RBI), Gigli (single, double, two runs scored), Schmidt (double, homerun, two runs scored, three RBIs), Daylon Barron (two singles) and Miller (two singles) all had big offensive games for Tamaqua.
Tamaqua 412 120 - 10 13 1
Freeland 401 412 - 12 8 3
Titus, Akins (4), Hamm (4) and Hamm, Evans (4); Fisher, Young (3), Merenich (5) and Perkowsky, Smith (3). W - Merenich. L - Hamm. HR: Tamaqua - Schimdt (1st, two on); Freeland - Fancher (1st, two on), Herbener (6th, one on).