Pine Grove blanks Tamaqua
BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS Tamaqua's Jordan Heisler makes a diving attempt to catch a sharp liner hit down the first base line, but comes up short.
The two teams are familiar with each other on the baseball diamond and both of the squads are similar in their approaches to the game, as well.
A slow start for Tamaqua and a solo home run were the only difference in last night's Schuylkill Legion match-up between Tamaqua and Pine Grove. Eventually, it was Pine Grove besting the Blue Sox, 5-0 to improve to 3-1-1 on the season.
Both pitchers threw gems, as PG's Ty Zimmerman struck out nine, and walked six, while he also went the distance for a three-hit shutout over the Blue Sox.
On the other side, the hosts' Mike Streisel struck out seven, walked four, and limited the PG offense to four hits, and if it weren't for two first-inning errors, the outcome could have been much closer.
"It seems like that early lead put the guys down," Tamaqua head coach Todd Heisler mentioned afterwards. "They were quieter than normal for the whole game and I think it was because of that."
Often times when teams see each other throughout the course of the regular high school baseball season, and then enter into summer ball, opponents know what to expect and the games seem a little routine.
However, the top of the first frame wasn't for Tamaqua, as two Pine grove hits and two uncharacteristic errors yielded four first-inning runs.
From that point on, the two teams' pitchers went to work and the score remained at 4-0 until the top of the fifth frame.
John Cataldo took a low and outside Streisel deal deep over the fence for some added, but not needed insurance.
"We had faced Streisel twice this season," the Pine Grove Grovers head coach Frank D'Agostino admitted. "That's why that early lead was huge for us because we normally couldn't produce too many runs against a quality pitcher like that."
The game featured four one-two-three innings a tribute to the strength of the pitchers but Tamaqua didn't quit.
In fact, in the final inning, Tamaqua challenged. Steve Kupetz was hit by a pitch, and Toby Rosen and Jordan Heisler drew walks to load the bases with one out. However, Zimmerman pulled off his second and third strikeouts of the frame to seal the win.
Offensively, for the winners, Dave Hafer had the game's only other extra-base hit (Cataldo's HR), with a first-inning double, while teammates Joshua Scheibley and Trent Mars had singles.
For Tamaqua (2-3), Heisler, Rosen and Jackson George all had singles to account for their team's only hits.
Tamaqua moves on to play Valley View tomorrow night, while Pine Grove plays Southern Area.
"I thought we would be ok against (Zimmerman)," Heisler admitted. "But he beat us. He really shut us down. But other than the kids on the field for us tonight, I thought the other guys on the team just had super attitudes for being on the bench, which is nice to see."
Pine Grove 400 010 0 - 5 4 0
Tamaqua 000 000 0 - 0 3 2
Zimmerman and B. Scheibley; Streisel, Linkhorst (7) and Roberts. WP - Zimmerman, LP - Streisel. HR: PG - Cataldo (5th, none on).