CRESSONA - There are many formulas that can lead to success.
The Cressona 11-12-year-old all-stars turned big hits into big innings to earn a 13-5 victory over Orwigsburg in the opening round of District 24 Little League pool play Sunday evening in Cressona.
Cressona (1-0) ripped 10 hits and tallied 10 runs combined in the fourth and fifth innings to gain the Pool 2 win.
"The kids rallied the second half of the game," Cressona manager Jeff Smith said. "It really showed."
Austin Clauser and Hunter Luckenbill highlighted Cressona's five-hit, four-run fifth inning. Both Clauser and Luckenbill hit RBI doubles and later scored.
Riley Carroll added a solo home run for Cressona's final run of the evening.
Clauser and Carroll accounted for six of Cressona's 13 hits.
Clauser went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored, while Carroll went 3-for-3 with three RBIs and a run scored.
"We were able to hit the ball everywhere," Carroll said.
The bottom of the fourth was another big inning for Cressona, which was locked in a 3-3 tie at the time.
The five-hit, six-run frame exhibited strong hitting performances by Ben Kramer, Clauser, Nate Nabholz and Alex Sattizahn. Each hit a single in the frame.
"They really came alive," Smith said. "They stayed in there and played a nice game."
Kramer finished 2-for-2 with three runs scored on the day. Both of Kramer's hits were infield singles.
"Ben Kramer is a phenomenal baseball player," Smith said. "You can't coach speed."
Orwigsburg got out in front early, courtesy of a Brent Kaunas solo homer in the first inning.
Cressona answered immediately by scoring three runs in the bottom of the first frame. Clauser, Carroll and Luke Smith each rapped singles in the inning. Smith's single knocked in a run as Cressona capitalized with runners in scoring position.
"We didn't waste many hits," Smith said.
Both sides went scoreless in the second and third innings due to good pitching.
Jeff Smith commended both pitchers after the game.
Nabholz, a Cressona right-hander, tallied seven strikeouts and only allowed four hits in his 4.1 innings on the hill. He was the winning pitcher.
Kaunas, the Orwigsburg starter, struck out five and allowed six hits in his 3.1 innings atop the mound.
Neither of the starters allowed a hit in the second or third innings.
That changed as Kaunas went on the offensive, recording his second homer of the game in the fourth, this a two-run shot, to tie the game 3-3.
Cressona answered immediately once again, putting together those two big innings to secure the victory.
With the win, Cressona gets a fast start in pool play. Along with Orwigsburg, the other teams in the pool are Schuylkill Haven and Pottsville Rotary.
This group of Cressona players is used to winning. Two years ago, they captured the District 24 9-10-year-old championship. Last summer, they won the district title in the 10-11-year-old division.
"They finally settled down," Smith said. "They came up with some big hits when we needed them." Game Summary