PLAINS TWP. — On Wednesday, it was a 3-2 win at Coughlin. Monday it was 2-1 on the road in Hazleton. Last week it was 2-1 over Valley West. Before that, a 6-5 victory against Berwick.
Yes, it’s safe to say Tunkhannock is comfortable playing this kind of game.
Wednesday’s win over the Crusaders made it six in a row for the Tigers, who have vaulted into first place in Division 2 of the Wyoming Valley Conference.
“These,” Tigers coach Gary Custer said, “are the games we gotta win. The games we gotta win. The close ones tell you (what a team is made of).”
Tunkhannock (8-2) has been doing just that to open up a two-game lead in the division with four league games left to play. The latest victory came courtesy of a familiar formula — a strong performance on the mound, error-free defense and opportunistic hitting.
Ty Weiss went the distance for the win, striking out eight and issuing just one walk. He scattered six singles and pitched out of a tough jam in the fifth with the Crusaders threatening.
“The key was their pitcher. He kept our hitters off-balance,” Coughlin coach Moe Rodzinak said. “The kids weren’t getting good swings at all. He pitched great. He mixed things up and they made the plays when they had to (behind him).”
Three of Tunkhannock’s five hits came in the fourth inning as Weiss broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single. A one-out walk loaded the bases and Coughlin was looking to limit the damage when a suicide squeeze bunt didn’t travel far enough from the plate, leading to a force out at home.
But the Crusaders couldn’t get an out after that when ace Josh Featherman induced a ground ball as an error allowed a second run to score.
Tunkhannock added another unearned run in the top of the fifth when the Crusaders couldn’t turn a double play as the throw to first sailed high to let Tunkhannock go up 3-0.
Mike Wozniak and Dave Parsnik each came through with an RBI single in the home half of the fifth to pull within 3-2, but Weiss and the Tigers kept Coughlin (6-4) from tying it.
“Tying run on thrd, nobody out and we have our 2-3-4 hitters up,” Rodzinak said. “And we couldn’t get him in. That was the key to the game right there.”
Sam Andrews pitched two flawless innings of relief for the Crusaders to keep them alive, but Weiss finished strong, retiring the final nine batters he faced, striking out four of them.
Another workmanlike effort for Tunkhannock.
“No prima-donnas. No superstars,” Custer said of his team. “They all root for each other. There’s a bunch of seniors, but also the shortstop (Cody Brown) is a freshman. No all-star (mentality), you know? A bunch of grinders.”
Tunkhannock 3, Coughlin 2
Tunkhannock AB R H BI 2B 3B HR
Jordan Faux 2b4110000
Sean Soltysiak 1b3110000
Josh McClain 3b2010000
Jeremy Lee rf3010000
Ty Weiss p3111000
Cody Brown ss2000000
Si Bernosky c3000000
Ryan Weiss lf3000000
Lance Sherry cf3000000
Coughlin AB R H BI 2B 3B HR
Dave Parsnik rf4011000
Dave Marriggi cf3000000
Kyle Lupas 1b3000000
Josh Featherman p-3b3020000
Christian Rivera 2b0000000
Pat Hall dh3000000
Eric Adamczyk c3000000
Sam Andrews 3b-p2000000
E.J. Slavish pr0100000
Hunter Bednarczyk lf3120000
Mike Wozniak ss3011000
Tunkhannock0002100 — 3
Coughlin0000200 — 0
Tunkhannock IP H R ER BB SO
T. Weiss (W, 3-0)7.062218
Coughlin IP H R ER BB SO
Featherman (L, 3-2)5.053114