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On This Date (June 3, 2013): Raiders top FT Charter

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Since May of 1999, the Times News Sports Department has featured an On This Date practically every day, highlighting an event that happened in the past. With the coronavirus putting a halt to sports locally and nationally, the On This Dates have been expanded to the stories that actually ran in the next day’s newspaper. Today’s On This Date story is from June 3, 2013).

By Ed Hedes


PINE GROVE - Tamaqua head coach Jeff Reading made the first move in this chess game they call the PIAA Baseball Championships.

Instead of pitching his ace, Brett Kosciolek, the Tamaqua boss elected to send Derek Rottet to the mound in Monday’s first round game against Franklin Towne Charter School, the Philadelphia Public League champion, at Pine Grove’s Walter M. Stump Stadium.

And it worked.

Rottet, who hadn’t pitched since the Schuylkill League semifinals in the same stadium back on May 13, gave Reading just what he wanted in what turned out to be an 11-1 win in six innings.

Rottet pitched five strong innings, striking out five, allowing one run and two hits before turning it over to Josh Zehner to finish it off in the sixth.

“Derek could give us five good solid innings,” Reading said. “He mentioned that he felt tightness in his back, but he held his own since he didn’t pitch in a good three weeks. He came out today and threw well. Just one inning he lost his spots and got a little erratic. He refocused, we got a good defensive play to get us out of the inning and got them one, two, three in the fifth.”

Tamaqua now advances to Thursday’s quarterfinals against District 2 champion Abington Heights, a 4-3 winner in nine innings over District 4 champion Jersey Shore, at a site to be determined.

“I told the kids we have to execute today and come out and put the ball in play,” Reading said afterward. “In their past two games, they (Franklin) had a total of 12 errors. I give them a lot of credit, they came right out at the start and hit a seed out to left field on the first pitch for a single. When you see that happen the first pitch of the game, you wonder what are we in for?

“We hadn’t seen their pitcher (Tim Hart). His stats were impressive. Ninety-seven strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings with a 2.32 ERA and a 9-1 record. We didn’t know if we were going to see a fireballer or a junk pitcher or what.

“Early on we told the kids to stay back, be patient and wait because he threw a changeup and tried to sneak the fastball by you. We adjusted, took the ball the other way. They left some holes for us, the second baseman was out of position a couple of times and we got some timely hits.”

Tamaqua jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning by sending eight batters to the plate. Derek Rottet walked and Nathan MacDonald was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with one out. Zachary Coleman, running for Derek Rottet, scored on a single to right by Ian Nicholls and Matt Minchoff doubled to drive in Nathan MacDonald and Ian Nicholls.

The Raiders added two more in the third when Brett Kosciolek and Luke Matsago led off with back-to-back singles. Brett Kosciolek scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Bo Rottet and Matt Yeakel, running for Luke Matsago, scored on a fly ball to center by Nathan MacDonald.

Franklin got its lone run of the game in the top of the fourth to cut the Tamaqua lead to 5-1. With two out, Chris Hertman doubled, went to third on a passed ball and scored on a throwing error.

The Blue Raiders bounced right back, however, with two of their own in the bottom of the inning. Bo Rottet led off with a double, went to third on a ground out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Brett Kosciolek. Luke Matsago walked, courtesy runner Matt Yeakel came on and stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a Derek Rottet single.

A four-run sixth inning ended the contest when Adam Bates hit a single to right driving home Russell Blaker and Nathan MacDonald with the 10th and 11th run.

Ian Nicholls finished with two hits, scored a run and had two RBIs, while Brett Kosciolek also had two hits, scored twice and drove in a run. Nathan MacDonald scored twice and drove in two runs.

FT Charter 000 100 - 1 2 2

Tamaqua 032 204 - 11 10 1

Hart, Callahan (4), Padda (6) and Hammerstein, Depaul (6); D. Rottet, Zehner (6) and Matsago. W - D. Rottet.

Tamaqua's Ian Nicholls reaches for a throw as Franklin Towne Charter's Chris Hartman slides into third base. Nicholls had two hits and two RBIs in the Raiders' 11-1 state playoff win. TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO