Jim Kester may have received a bit of a message of what the future holds for his Northern Valley baseball team yesterday afternoon.
"It seems like every year we start off as gang busters and then we end up with a little bit of a lull in the middle of the season as far as the bats go," Kester said, with the Lehigh Valley Legion playoffs right around the corner. "Then, we end up coming around just in time for the playoffs.
"Now, it seems we're just coming out of that lull right now."
Northern Valley hovered around the .500 mark with a 9-7 overall record entering Tuesday's game with Southern Lehigh., it was no wonder Kester thought that way.
However, with the hosts enforcing the 10-run rule with a commanding 16-6 win, it helped Northern Valley brighten their manager's thoughts up a bit for the playoffs.
"I'm looking at the timing thinking, 'Yeah, this is about right,'" Kester said. "It kind of looks like we're going to be ready once again. If history is our guide, maybe that's the way it will work out for us."
Although Kester was impressed with a just one mistake on the defensive and the solid pitching performance by his son Nate Kester and teammate Kyle Creyer, it was the way the players responded to one of the league's solid pitchers within the batter's box that day.
"When you see Gary McCool on the mound, you always get a little concerned because he's a shutdown pitcher for the most part," Kester said. "When we saw him, we knew they were coming at us with everything they had.
"A couple of breakaway hits there really brought things around quite a bit. And, Billy (Dayton) kind of led that off."
Dayton started the bottom of the first inning with a double and then scored his team's first run on an Adam Wehr RBI-single.
Five innings and an infield single and two free passes (a walk and a hit-batsmen) later, Dayton finished the game's scoring with a two-run triple giving his team some added motivation with six games left on the schedule.
Dayton finished a home run shy of the cycle on the day with a perfect 3-for-3 performance.
His teammates followed suit as well.
Colton Breininger finished 3-for-4 with two singles, a double, three runs scored and an RBI, while Adam Wehr followed him with two singles, two runs scored and two RBIs. Kyle Creyer recorded a fine day with two singles, a run scored and two RBIs.
"It became contagious," Kester said of Dayton setting the pace for his teammates. "We were really concerned with our offense on the first day. All of a sudden, we were flat. But, things just worked out and our offense got going - like today.
"Right now, we're a little over the .500 mark," Kester said. "I'm being cautious here, but we do have a couple more games that we see in sight that we're thinking will help boost us a little bit more in rank. We wouldn't mind being in the middle of the pack as far as that goes. It would be even better for us to get that six or even the four spot.
"That's going to take some work on our part for sure. But, it's doable. But, it's up to them. We do have some tough games left. However, based on the momentum we're developing over the last couple of games here, I'm totally optimistic."
So. Lehigh 201 012 - 6 7 5
No. Valley 240 208 - 16 13 1
McCool, Flores (6) and Iversen; Kester, Creyer (5) and Wehr. W - Kester. L - McCool. HR: SL - Billiard (1st, one on)