Tamaqua wins championship
BOB FORD/times news The Tamaqua 11-12 year old All-Star team proudly displays the District 18 11-12 year old banner after sweeping through the tournament unbeaten. Tamaqua defeated Franklin Township to advance to this weekend's sectionals.
Tamaqua's 11-12 year-old Little League All-Star team has come close to winning a District 18 title, but before last night, hasn't been able to walk away with the banner since 2005.
It finally cleared that hurdle when it defeated Franklin Township, 15-9 to sweep through this year's tournament undefeated, at Bill Angst Stadium on Dutch Hill.
"This is a good hitting team I have here and they're a good hitting team too," said Tamaqua manager Charlie Kistler. "They were coming in and just throwing pitchers we could hit in that second inning."
Franklin jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Danny Keer doubled and scored on a single by Nolan Wentz.
That seemed like a wakeup call for Tamaqua as it scored nine runs and batted around sending 13 hitters to the plate in the top of the second.
After loading the bases on three walks, Cody Scherer singled in two runs, winning pitcher Thad Zuber singled in a run ,Josh Inama smashed a three-run homer, Matt Weaver doubled, Zeke Wassell had an RBI single, and Casey Rother hit a two-run homer.
"He threw a fastball a little outside and I made good contact," Inama said about his homer. "We've been rivals for a long time so that second inning was a big lift."
Tamaqua took a 13-2 lead into the bottom of the fourth inning as Weaver punched another double to score a run, Rother followed with an RBI single and Inama added another hit to drive in another run. Zuber also added an RBI single.
Franklin Township scored twice, however, in the bottom of the fourth on singles by Jonathan Herman and Dalton Berger and a Tamaqua error to keep the game alive trailing 13-4..
Tamaqua added a couple of insurance runs in the when Scherer and Inama scored again.
Franklin didn't quit, however, and had one last rally left. Backed by a three-run homer from Dan Keer, who also doubled twice and drove in four runs, on the night, Franklin scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth before Tamaqua pitcher Zeke Wassell got the final out.
"They definitely didn't quit," said Franklin manager Frank Bokan. "Our team has no quit in them. If we could delete that one bad inning we were right in this thing.
"Tamaqua was well rested. They stayed in the winners bracket and only played four games. We had to win five just to get here.
"The way the pitching matchups went, today was their day and they beat us."
For Tamaqua, it's now off to the Section 6 Tournament on Saturday in either Stroudsburg or Saylorsburg.
"They get up on a lead like that some times and they coast," said Weaver. "In that last inning, we had Zeke (Wassell) throwing strikes. We told him to throw strikes because we thought we had enough runs to hold on and they just kept hitting the ball. The momentum switched to their side of the field for a little bit."
Tamaqua 093 102 - 15 16 2
Franklin Twp. 101 205 - 9 14 4
Zuber, Wassell (5) and Inama; Haupt, Herman (3), Berger (5) and Wagner.
W - Zuber. L - Haupt.