Lady Tigers fall to Tamaqua
Tamaqua’s Brook Zellner went from being questionable, to being probable, to being exceptional.
Zellner’s three-run homer in the third inning jump-started the Blue Raider offense and led to an 11-1 mercy-rule victory over Northwestern in the quarterfinal round of the District 11 Class 4A softball playoffs on Wednesday.
Zellner’s blast not only allowed Tamaqua to dig out of a 1-0 deficit, but it ignited a nine-run explosion that all but sealed the outcome.
Not bad for someone who Tamaqua coach Jill Barron was worried might not even be able to play.
“Brooke had a doctor’s appointment earlier in the day and had to get some shots,” Barron said. “Her doctor’s appointments sometimes knock her down for the rest of the day and really take everything out of her.
“I was checking in with her throughout the day and was relieved when she told me she was feeling all right. I’m just really happy she was able to play, and she was able to get us going today.”
The sixth-seeded Tigers (11-10) had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the third on an RBI double by Kayla Mitman.
Thanks to Zellner, that lead didn’t last long.
After Courtney Hoffman and Miranda Chinchar worked one-out walks to start the home third, Zellner jumped on the first pitch she saw and drove it over the fence in left center field.
During the third inning, Tamaqua sent 14 batters to the plate, pounded out six hits, and drew five walks. Kaitlyn Stauffenberg added a two-run single, Taylor Donnan and Hoffman both had RBI singles, and Chinchar capped it with a run-scoring double.
“Give Tamaqua credit, they are a good hitting team,” Northwestern coach Josh Zimmerman said. “We had one bad inning where we walked some people and gave them a couple extra outs – and Tamaqua took advantage of that like good teams do.
“We’re a young team. We need to learn how to limit damage and not let those types of innings happen.”
Chinchar added an RBI single in the fifth and Hoffman singled and eventually raced home on a Tiger error in the sixth to invoke the 10-run mercy rule.
Chinchar and Stauffenberg both had two hits and two RBIs for the Raiders. Donnan also had a pair of hits. Hoffman scored twice, while Zellner knocked in three.
For Northwestern, Kayla Mitman had two hits and an RBI. Sam Sisco reached base twice and scored a run.
Northwestern 001 000 - 1 5 2
Tamaqua 009 011 - 11 10 0
E. Akelaitis, Santana (3), E. Akelaitis (4) and A. Akelaitis; Schellhammer and Zellner. W-Schellhammer. L-E. Akelaitis. HR: Tamaqua – Zellner (3rd, two on).