Raiders can’t overcome Wilson’s fast start
It wasn’t a game to remember; a dinger, an error, three straight singles, and before you knew it, Tamaqua was down by four runs and it had yet to take its turn at bat.
Yes, it was one of those outings on the baseball diamond that the Blue Raiders would rather just forget.
Wilson beat Tamaqua, 9-3, on Wednesday in the quarterfinal round of the District 11 Class 4A tournament.
The Warriors’ first-inning explosion gave them all the runs they would need thanks to a tremendous performance on the bump from pitcher Angelo Sagrestano.
Sagrestano wasn’t overpowering, but was pinpoint with his pitches. He was working on a no-hitter until the sixth inning, and a shutout until the seventh.
The only Tamaqua batters who reached base prior to the seventh were Wyatt Steigerwalt, who got aboard on a first-inning error, and Chase Andrews, who doubled down the third base line to lead off the sixth.
A 6-1 junior right hander, Sagrestano retired 13 straight batters between Steigerwalt and Andrews reaching base. He struck out but four, and had great command, issuing nary a walk.
“He’s always been able to throw strikes, and we’re pretty confident every time he’s on the hill,” Wilson coach Dave Hinkle said.
Wilson wasted little time taking command, as leadoff hitter Zakary Kardos turned on a pitch over the plate for a home run. After an error and a fielder’s choice groundout, Tamaqua ace sophomore southpaw Mason Ligenza looked like he might be able to limit the damage, but a walk to Liam Coyle, a Gavin Partridge single, and a two-run single by Nico Brown spoiled those plans.
“Our concern coming in was not seeing live pitching for almost two-and-a-half weeks,” Hinkle said. But he quickly found out that his teams’ bats were stroking iron hot. In all, they collected 11 hits - led by Partridge’s three and two by Kardos.
“That was the story of the game,” said veteran Tamaqua coach Jeff Redding about the early deficit his team faced. “Mason had a difficult time hitting his spots, and they jumped on us early.”
The Warriors (12-9) went up 6-0 in the fourth when Partridge drove in two more runs, and jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the top of the fifth, managing two more hits in the rally. The Colonial League representatives came within a base hit of a 10-run rule win in the sixth as they used a sacrifice fly off the bat of Noah Wallasea to make it 9-0 before stranding runners at second and third.
Tamaqua (12-9) finally broke through in the seventh. Luke Kane ended the shutout with a solo home run to left center. After a walk, Ryan Vecolitis drilled an RBI double, and Andrews picked up an RBI with his second hit of the game.
Despite the loss, Reading felt it was a productive season.
“I told the team, ‘you guys had the right to be here,’” Redding said. “For the younger guys, it’s something to build on, I was proud of their accomplishments. The hardest part is having to say goodbye to the seniors.”
… Sagrestano was steady all game. He seldom worked from behind in the count. He also got some great defensive support, including an acrobatic play from shortstop Kardos, who backhanded a ball, leaped into the air as his body was going toward third base, and somehow got enough on his throw to rob Kane of a sure base hit.
… Both catchers were superb for their respective teams. Kane for the Raiders and Partridge for the Warriors.
… Tamaqua had seven players in uniform for the final time: Parker Oswald, Nate Fannock, Cian McLaughlin, Tim Fritzinger, Lucas Milot, Andrews and Vecolitis.
NEXT FOR THE WARRIORS ... Wilson will face top-seed Blue Mountain on Sunday at Stump Field in Pine Grove at 6:30 p.m.
Wilson 402 201 0 – 9 11 1
Tamaqua 000 000 3- 3 4 3
Sagrestano and Partridge; Ligenza, Mateyak (4) and Steigerwalt (6) and Kane. W – Sagrestano L Ligenza. HR - Wilson: Kardos (1st, none on); Tamaqua: Kane (7th, none on)