Tamaqua earns comeback win over Colts
It was a tug-of-war between Tamaqua and Marian on Wednesday.
And just when it seemed like the Colts were going to win the battle, the Blue Raiders pulled a little harder and stronger - just in time to flip the script in their favor.
Tamaqua may have seemed perplexed at times - both in the field and at the plate - and were down to their last nine outs, trailing by three runs.
But the Raiders suddenly found a way to wipe out their misfortunes, scoring five runs in the top of the fifth to gain a come-from-behind 10-8 victory.
After the contest, Tamaqua head coach Jeff Reading didn’t know what to make of everything that happened.
“We gave up routine outs,” he said. “It was disappointing, we gave them extra outs and gave them extra runs.”
On the bright side, the Raiders found a way to dig in and rally in the later innings to pull out the win.
With one away in the sixth, Chris Andrews poked his second single of the game and Lucas Kamant followed with a hit. Wyatt Steigerwalt - who picked up the pitching decision in relief - lashed a two-run single, and things started to fall into place for the eventual winners.
Mason Ligenza singled home another run, and Luke Kane picked up a two-out RBI with a sacrifice fly. Despite there being two outs, the Raiders kept digging and posted another run for a 10-8 lead.
The rally sent 11 batters to the plate, and when Steigerwalt came on in relief, he retired five straight Colts hitters before allowing an infield single to Corey Nolesco.
The only trouble Steigerwalt needed to wade through came in the bottom of the seventh inning. Pinch hitter DeFrancisco drew a walk to open the bottom of the frame.
With one out, Chase Petrilyak lashed out his second hit of the contest to put runners at the corners, and then issued a free pass to Mike Gelatko.
But Steigerwalt never wavered, recording the final two outs to seal the win.
“We’ve been preaching routine, routine, routine plays,” said Reading. “It’s our first game. We’ve been trying to get that across, and to be on your toes.”
Tamaqua opened the scoring with three first-inning runs off Marian starter Brian Hinkle, none of which were earned. A two-out Ligenza single, followed by a single from Kane, an error and a Lucas Milot single put Tamaqua in front 3-0.
In the second inning, singles from Tim Fritzinger and Kamant - and another Colt error - made it 4-0.
Marian struck for a pair of runs in the home second. Chris Chambers and Petrilyak fueled the rally with singles, and a Tamaqua miscue made it 4-2. However, the Raiders put one back on the board in the top of the third to push the lead to 5-2.
The Colts rallied in the bottom of the third, sending 10 hitters to the plate, using a pinch hit two-run double by Rawlin Melendez, a Petrilyak RBI-flyout, and four errors by the visitors, sending Marian in front 8-5.
That seemed comfortable enough for the decision, but Tamaqua had other plans, coming back to pull off a huge rally to make its season debut a winning one.
“That’s early baseball in Schuylkill County, two teams that laid it all out there,” said Marian skipper Tony Radocha. “I’m proud of the way we fought … we played well enough to win, we didn’t execute enough.”
AROUND THE HORN
… Tamaqua had a lot of chutzpah to its game. It never gave any sign of being down in the dumps. The late rally is something to build upon.
... Petrilyak had a big day, with three hits and two RBIs for the Colts. Gelatko also hit safely twice for Marian. Cian McLaughlin slugged out a pair of hits for the Raiders, as did Steigerwalt, Ligenza, Andrews and Kane. Tamaqua finished with 13 hits in the contest.
Tamaqua 311 005 0 - 10 13 6
Marian 026 000 0 - 8 10 5
Ligenza, Fritzinger (3), Steigerwalt (5) and Kane; Hinkle, Bobish and Walko. W - Steigerwalt. L - Bobish.