P/T 'walks' into championship
A theme emerged early in the District 18 11-12-year old consolation bracket final between Lansford and Palmerton/Towamensing.
A combination of Lansford's inability to find the strike zone and timely hitting when the ball did cross the plate gave P/T a 10-2 win and a chance to play undefeated Valley West on Sunday.
P/T got off to a slow start, leaving the bases loaded in the second inning and failing to capitalize on four Lansford walks in the frame. The squad did get on the board as Brody Boehler scored on a double steal to give the team a 1-0 advantage after two innings.
Lansford's Mason Goida answered quickly in the top of the third, slamming a two-run homer over the centerfield fence to give the team a 2-1 lead.
But P/T would again load the bases on three straight walks to start the bottom of the third, only to come away with one run in the inning on Cody Waterhouse's RBI single.
The P/T bats would start to make contact in the fourth, as Luke Eitner smashed a two-run home run to give the team a slim, 4-2 advantage.
P/T coach Matt Reis was concerned about his team's slow start to begin the game, knowing his sqaud was leaving a lot on the table.
"The kids were a little slow on the bats coming out there," Reis said. "We couldn't really get a bat on the ball early.
"We just really got out of the gates slow tonight; I think we had the bases loaded twice, but we couldn't put any runs on the board. We didn't really pick up the bats until the fifth inning."
By the time the fifth inning rolled around, P/T had its timing down and knew what to look for at the plate. The team scored six runs on four hits, highlighted by Tanner Burnett's long two-run homer that went deep into the parking lot.
Burnett would come on in relief in the top of the sixth to get the final three outs and preserve the win.
The P/T defense was flawless and another key component in the victory, doing its best to keep Lansford off the board by eliminating base runners with solid play.
"Our biggest thing during the season with these boys has been defense; we always preach defense," Reis said. "We turned three double plays tonight and that's the difference in the game.
"We played solid defense and our pitchers got us out of a few rough innings."
The victory gives P/T a chance to play against a tough Valley West squad that beat Lansford 10-1 earlier in the week.
"We know it will be a tough ball game, they're the talk of the town right now," Reis said of the looming showdown. "Valley West is tough and they've always been tough.
"Palmerton/Towamensing, half the people don't even know where we're coming from. But we're going up there and we're going to give them a ball game."
For Lansford, the road ends after a tough week of games against quality opponents. But even after the loss, Lansford coach Tim Goida knows his team's commitment never wavered, which he knows played a major role in the team's success this year.
"Aside from losing, I couldn't be happier," Goida said. "We started the year with 16 kids and we have 11 here. This (season) was because of hard work by all of these kids. I'm just very proud of them.
"But Towamensing played a great game and I wish them all the luck in the world."
Lansford 002 000 - 2 7 2
P/T 011 26x - 10 7 0
Blasko, Distler (2), Prudente (5), Heitz (5) and M. Goida; Eitner, Haydt (3), Burnett (6) and Burnett, Reis (6). W - Haydt. L - Blasko. HR: Lansford - M. Goida (3rd, one on); P/T - Eitner (4th, one on), Burnett (5th, one on).