Tamaqua stays alive
During the Schuylkill-Berks Legion regular season, Tamaqua's pitching had a problem against Schuylkill Valley.
As an end result, Schuylkill Valley took both games against the Blue Sox.
Thursday night, with its season on the line in the double-elimination post-season tournament, Tamaqua manager Todd Heisler gave the ball to someone who hadn't pitched in the earlier games against Schuylkill Valley.
Mike Streisel got the call and delivered for Tamaqua, tossing a one-hitter to lead his team to an 11-1 victory.
After opening the tournament with a loss to Minersville on Wednesday night, the Blue Sox bounced back with the mercy rule victory to keep their season alive.
"We knew we could beat them all along," Streisel said. "We just had to get it all together. The third time was a charm for us."
Streisel who at times reached 85 miles per hour with his fastball didn't disappoint his teammates. The hard-throwing right-hander went the distance, recording seven strikeouts.
"During the regular season, these guys clubbed the ball against us," Heisler said. "We didn't throw Streisel against them during the regular season. So, we did today and he definitely had his stuff working. He looked really good out there."
So, did the Blue Sox bats, especially in the opening inning.
After Streisel opened the game by striking out the side in the top of the first, the Blue Sox gave him a quick lead with a six-run, seven-hit bottom half of the inning.
With two-outs, the Blue Sox went off against Schuylkill Valley starting pitcher Mike Dranginis, who threw a lot of off-speed pitches. Ryan Palsgrove, Streisel, Dylan Delay, Brandon Hosler and Luke Matsago hit consecutive singles. In the process, Streisel collected two RBIs while Delay, Hosler and Matsago all knocked in one run. Jackson George ended the big frame with an RBI double to plate Matsago.
Tamaqua continued to add to its lead in the fourth inning as Toby Rosen doubled and later scored on a wild pitch. Ryan Palsgrove and Streisel followed with back-to-back solo home runs, which gave the hosts a comfortable 9-1 lead.
"I think that's the first time that happened," said Streisel, of hitting back-to-back long balls. "But, hey, we were aggressive at the plate. We wanted this one and we got the job done."
The Blue Sox were able to put the mercy rule into effect when pinch-hitter Matt Roberts delivered a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth..
With the win, Tamaqua moves on to play at Pine Grove tonight at 7:30 p.m.
"I never expected after losing to Minersville they would come out here like they did today," Heisler said. "I expected them to come out slow, but they wanted to keep playing and it showed with the way they played on both sides of the ball."
Schuylkill Vy. 001 00 - 1 1 0
Tamaqua 600 32 - 11 11 0
Dranginis, Close (1) and Holohan; Streisel and George. W - Streisel. L - Dranginis. HR: Tamaqua - Palsgrove (4th, none on), Streisel (4th, none on), Roberts (5th, one on).