Tamaqua rolls over PV
bob ford/times news Harold Moll (left) of Tamaqua rounds second base during Monday's game against Panther Valley. The Panthers' Patrick Owens (1) covers the base.
After breaking a 17-inning scoreless streak this past Friday in a 2-1 win against Blue Mountain, the Tamaqua Blue Raiders left no doubt that they have rediscovered their offense.
Tamaqua jumped on Panther Valley early, with six runs in the first, en route to a 10-0 Schuylkill League Division I win.
The Blue Raiders (9-3, 5-1) batted around in the opening frame, an inning that was highlighted by Matt Roberts' three-run blast to right centerfield.
Roberts was up again in the second and looked to have a shot at another homer after he put a jolt into a Jake Kusko pitch, but this time it fell short at the wall. Tamaqua starter Brett Kosciolek was up next and made sure he got all of Kusko's offering, sending a long drive over the centerfield fence to give Tamaqua its second home run of the game.
Kosciolek also took care of business on the mound, as he didn't allow a hit until a Matt Buss single in the third inning. Kosciolek struck out eight in five innings of work, limiting Panther Valley (1-8, 0-5) to three hits.
The win may have come easier than Friday's contest, but coach Tamaqua coach Jeff Reading got exactly what he expected from his squad in another tough Schuylkill League matchup.
"I expect these guys to come out every game and play every game as hard as they can from the get-go," said Reading. "And they did that today.
"To come out in the first inning, and offensively getting some runs, we were able to jump on top there. When you do that and get a bigger lead you can't get complacent."
The win positions Tamaqua well for a District 11 playoff spot, which is something Reading takes pride in for his upperclassmen.
"This will be the first time in three years that they'll be able to qualify," Reading said. "These seniors have yet to play in a district game so it's an accomplishment for them and I'm happy for them.
"But we have this whole second half of our league (schedule) to go through and this was just one more game and we'll take it one game at a time."
One game at a time is something that has a slightly different meaning for Panther Valley, a team that has multiple games this week and limited depth to work with.
"I liked the way our guys came in and battled today, we never quit or hang our heads," Panther Valley coach John Cooper said of his team's effort. "We have four games this week and we don't have a lot of arms, so we knew coming into today that we had to piece things together and this is a very good offensive team that we played against."
Being forced to piece things together is no easy task against a team of Tamaqua's caliber.
"Offensively, whenever you have to face (Brett) Kosciolek it's going to be a tough day; he's the real deal and he's a great pitcher," Cooper said of the Tamaqua right-hander. "This is the first place team in the division and hats off to them.
"They're a class organization and they played well today. Hopefully they make a great run through the playoffs."
Panther Valley 000 000 - 0 3 3
Tamaqua 621 001 - 10 11 1
Kusko, Szczecina (2), Goida (4) and Buss, Black (4); Kosciolek, Nicholls (6) and Matsago. WP - Kosciolek. LP - Kusko. HR: Tamaqua - Roberts (1st, two on), Kosciolek (2nd, none on).