LIMEPORT – How sweep it is.
Northern Lehigh pitcher Eric Snyder's strikeout of Saucon Valley's Pat Kane clinched the sweep of the Colonial League Championships by downing the Panthers 3-1 at Limeport Stadium. Northern Lehigh's softball team also won this year's softball title.
"This means a lot," senior Tyler Bolton said. "We really haven't had the best years but this year we really clicked and came together as a team."
When head coach Erv Prutzman took over four years ago, Northern Lehigh baseball was as far away from a championship as a team could be.
"Four years ago we were in the hole and these seniors were freshmen," he said. "We worked together in the Connie Mack league and this is the result."
Early on, the hopes of a Bulldog celebration seemed stalled as Saucon placed men in scoring position in each of the first two innings.
Snyder, who got the start, was a boxer on the ropes early on. A throwing error allowed Saucon to score its only run and leave runners on second and third. The right-hander locked in and got Kane to pop out to end the inning.
"I think (Joe) Seremula is the best pitcher in the league," Prutzman said. "Sometimes Sndyer gets overlooked. But our number two is just as good as our number one."
Snyder struck out the side in the third inning and didn't allow a hit until the sixth inning.
Meanwhile, the Bulldog hitters had their hands full with Saucon starter Tucker Sandercock, who held Northern Lehigh in check for most of the game.
A two-out error on a routine grounder opened the door for the Bulldogs to capitalize. Trevor Yashur reached on the errant throw that pulled the first baseman off the bag. Bolton (3-for-3) slashed a single, rattling Sandercock.
Seremula's walk on four pitches to load the bases set up Matt Gill's two-run single that proved to be the winning runs. Jake Kern immediately followed in an RBI single to give the Bulldogs a 2-run cushion.
"Going against a pitcher like Sandercock we knew we had to score runs when we could," said Prutzman. "We knew we wouldn't have a lot of opportunities."
Snyder found trouble with his command in the fifth inning with a pair of one-out walks that set the table for Jake Schnauzer, Saucon's clean-up hitter. With the game's momentun on the line, Snyder got Schnauzer to tap one back to him and initiate the 1-6-3 double play.
"That was huge," Snyer said. "I wasn't hitting my pitches. We work on that double play every day and we were able to turn it."
With a runner on in the sixth, Saucon's Kyle Shannon's single surely seemed to cut the lead to one, but cutoff man Kern fielded the throw by the centerfield Yashur and pitched a strike to catcher Andy Hoch who tagged out the runner.
It was in the bottom of the sixth inning the newly crowned Colonial League softball champions entered stadium. Their excitement combined with the crowd reaction lit up the stadium and the Bulldog team.
"That was amazing," Snyder said. "Once I saw and heard them come into the stadium that really gave us a boost."
"I tell you I had tears in my eyes when I heard the yelling and screaming and saw the bus here." Prutzman said. "I am real proud of them, I am so proud of us.
"It's huge for our school," Bolton said. "We are really happy we won back-to-back."
Saucon Valley 000 000 0 – 1 6 3
Northern Lehigh 003 000 x – 3 5 1
Sandercock and J. Okken; Snyder and Hoch. HR - none