Tamaqua Blue hangs on for win
PERKASIE There's a reason there are three outs in an inning.
And Tamaqua Blue's 9-10 all-stars showed exactly why in the opening round of the Section 6 tournament.
Every run the District 18 champions scored Tuesday came with two outs. And every one of those runs was needed as the team hung on for a nail-biting 15-14 victory over Pocono Mountain East.
"Our kids never give up," said Tamaqua Blue head coach Scott Hamm. "Whether there's no outs, one out, two outs or we're trailing, they just don't give up. We keep swinging until the three outs are made.
"The team was a bit nervous. This is a big stage for them. We made more errors than we normally make, but our bats were good. Now that we got this one out of the way, we'll hopefully relax and we'll get our defense back. That's really our strong point."
Next up for Tamaqua Blue is Warwick tonight at 7:30 p.m. The District 30 champs also had an impressive offensive showing with a 16-4 win over host Pennridge. But it wasn't more impressive than Tamaqua's third inning.
After falling behind 4-0, Hamm's club loaded the bases with one out on two walks and a Matthew Kistler single. Pocono, however, turned a grounder to third into a forceout at the plate and it looked like Tamaqua may be kept off the board for the third straight inning.
Instead, nine straight batters reached base and 12 runs crossed the plate.
Brady Moyer started the onslaught with a two-run single up the middle. After a bases-loaded walk to Michael Bonetsky made it 4-3, Tamaqua Blue gained its first lead on Brandon Mader's two-run double to left-center.
Nate Boyle added a two-run double in the frame, Kistler contributed an RBI double, Nicholas Briener chipped in a run-scoring single and Derian Stianche concluded the scoring with a triple.
"They changed pitchers that inning and I thought that would hurt us," said Hamm. "We're a fastball hitting team. We get screwed up with junk pitching. Once we got adjusted to him, I just told the guys to stay back and we started lighting him up. That inning was huge. Without that inning, we don't win."
In a game where no lead was safe, PM East bounced back with six runs - three coming on a homer by Michael Yates - to cut the gap to 12-10.
Boyle, however, came up with a two-run double in the fourth inning and Tamaqua tacked on one more in the fifth on an RBI single by Nicholas Onea to increase the margin to 15-10.
"We added that one insurance run in the fifth that turned out to be real huge," said Hamm. "They scared us in the last inning. My emotions were up and down there. We had two outs on them. We just needed that final one."
Down to its final at-bat, PM East showed it can also score with two outs. The District 29 champs pushed four runs across and had runners in scoring position when Boyle cam in to retire the final batter on a pop-out to first.
"Tonight was a total team effort," said Hamm. "Everybody had their sticks working. We have 12 kids that can hit the ball. There's not a top of the lineup or bottom of the lineup. This is just all 12 kids doing what they can. We just fought this one out and wanted it a little bit more.
"I'm proud of these kids. They just keep working. We had a little scare, but we just needed to get that last out."
Boyle finished with three hits and four RBIs while Kistler had three hits and scored twice. Moyer added three hits and Onea had two.
Tam. Blue 00(12) 210 - 15 15 5
PM East 04 6 004 - 14 11 4
Kistler, Hamm (3), Knoblauch (5), Boyle (6) and Breiner, Delinsky (4); Yergey, Johnson (3), Martens (4) and Kremer.