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Jim Thorpe outlasts Blue Raiders

The weather had everything to do with how a baseball game was played Friday at Jim Thorpe.

With mid-November wind chills at 39 degrees and on-and-off rain showers, the Olympians battled the Blue Raiders in a three-hour contest that featured 26 runs scored, 16 hits, 12 errors, and 10 walks that resulted in a 15-11 Jim Thorpe victory.

Olympians’ pitcher Michael Cadogan-Dougherty retired Tamaqua in order in the top of the first. Three Raider errors in the home half led to two Thorpe unearned runs. The visitors tied the score in the second with a couple of walks and an RBI single by Joel Shellhammer.

In the third, Tamaqua jumped ahead by two runs with aggressive baserunning that earned the Raiders three stolen bases followed by two JT errors and an RBI single by Aaron Coccio.

In the top half of the fourth, Tamaqua (1-7) took a 5-2 lead, taking advantage of an error, a wild pitch, and infield hit by Shellhammer.

With the weather worsening and field conditions deteriorating, Thorpe’s coach Joe Marykwas had concerns about how long they’d keep playing with the rule that makes a game official after five innings.

“Down three runs in the fourth, I wasn’t sure we’d play seven, so I knew we’d better start hitting and scoring soon,” he said.

His team answered the challenge and put up a six spot in the bottom of the fourth to grab an 8-5 lead. After a fly out, DJ Richebacher singled to start the rally.

An error and a hit batsman loaded the bases. Following a sacrifice fly by Jared Joyce and a walk to Ian Hubbard, Jared Marywas continued his season-long, torrid hitting with a line drive single to left to plate two runs. An error and a single by Cadogan-Dougherty completed the big JT inning.

The Raiders fought back to tie the score in the fifth. Big hits were a double to left by Lucas Shickram and a single from Ryan Vecolitis.

Thorpe (5-4) flexed its extra base hit muscle in the bottom half. After a Joyce single, Hubbard cracked a booming triple to right field, Another hit and RBI by Marykwas, and an opposite field double by Cadogan-Dougherty pushed the home team lead to 10-8 going into the sixth.

Joyce, who came on in relief in the fifth, retired the side in order, preserving JT’s three run margin.

Thorpe scored five more runs in the home sixth, aided by two more Raider miscues and RBI hits by Joyce, Hubbard, and Cadogan-Dougherty.

Coach Marykwas talked about his team’s focus at the plate.

“We’ve been preaching to swing the bat with hitter’s counts and to take the ball to the opposite field when the pitcher is throwing to the outside corner,” he said. “We did that very well today and more importantly, we hit from the top of our lineup to the bottom.”

Jim Thorpe smacked 12 hits in the win, with Marykwas leading the way, going 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Vecolitis and Shellhammer each had two hits for the Raiders.


... The umpires called an end the contest after five innings, but Tamaqua coach Jeff Reading argued that the result would then be a suspended game to be continued at a later date rather than a Thorpe win. He won the argument and the game resumed play. His team responded with a three-run seventh before Thorpe could register the final out.


... Several times the game was delayed between innings when bags of a drying element were poured and then raked over puddling areas around second, third, and home plate. Between the rain drops, clouds of dust from the dumped bags were swept across the infield by the cold early evening wind.

Tamaqua 022 130 3 - 11 8 8

Jim Thorpe 200 625 x - 15 12 4

Wickersham, Schickram (4), Coccio (6) and Mushock, Wickersham (4); Cadogan-Dougherty, Joyce (5), Richebacher (7) and Wimmer. W- Cadogan-Dougherty. L- Wickersham.

Tamaqua pitcher Nate Wickersham tags out Jim Thorpe's DJ Richebacher at home plate as Blue Raider catcher Kaleb Muschock watches in the background. MIKE FEIFEL/TIMES NEWS