NORTH WALES - With a 3-0 lead after an inning, Northern Valley was in position to win its first losers bracket game and advance into the third day of the Region 2 Tournament.
But after that first inning, Bath's pitchers settled in and shut down the Chargers for the rest of Sunday's game. Bath scored in five of the next eight innings to record an 12-3 win Sunday at Nor-Gwyn Elementary School in North Wales Township.
The loss ends the season for the Lehigh Valley League regular season champion Chargers.
"This is the best eight teams from Schuylkill-Berks, NORCO and Lehigh Valley," said Northern Valley head coach Brad Rauch. "When you get to this level, the pitching's a lot better. They really kept us off balance."
Three Bath pitchers combined to allow five hits and strike out 17 batters in the nine-inning game.
Bath starter Jason Mitch allowed three runs on four hits in the first inning. He allowed only one hit over the next six innings before giving way to Peter Doland in the eighth.
Mitch struck out 11 while walking just two. He didn't walk a batter until the fourth inning.
"Mitch kind of got in gear [after the first inning]," said Bath head coach Dave Brong. "He throws a nice, hard, late-breaking curveball that kept everybody off balance. He's done well for us this year."
Doland saw a batter reach base on an error with no outs in the eighth inning. He then struck out three straight Chargers.
Robert Bertolotti pitched the ninth and struck out the side.
"That was the best pitching we saw all year," said Northern Valley lead-off hitter Payton Bachman.
Bath advances to take on host Nor-Gwyn today at 4 p.m.
Northern Valley jumped out to a lead on Bath when Jake Kern and Ty Cunningham hit one-out singles. Kern scored on a Tyler Hill single. Cunningham and Hill scored on Zach Palansky's single for a 3-0 lead.
Bath answered with seven runs over the next two innings. Four hits and a walk led to three runs in the top of the second inning. The third started with a James Bertolotti lead-off home run and continued with four more hits as Bath built a 7-3 lead.
Northern Valley's Tyler Harris relieved starter Sawyer Smith after three innings. Smith gave up 10 hits while striking out one.
Harris stopped the bleeding for one inning, but gave up a bunt single, a walk and an Adreas Howler RBI singled led to two runs in the fifth. A pair of walks in the sixth were followed by a pair of errors that led to two more runs an 11-3 lead.
Kern pitched the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, allowing just one run.
Bath used aggressive base running to get the most out its 12 hits. The team stole eight bases in the game.
"We've got a lot of speed," said Brong. "Even our catcher can run a little bit. We've got speed up and down the order. We saw an opportunity today and took advantage of it."
Northern Valley, which went 15-3 to win the Lehigh Valley League's regular season by a three-game margin over North Parkland, ends its season after the team's first trip to regionals.
"It was an excellent season," said Rauch. "I'm proud of the guys. Just to make it here is a great accomplishment. They've done a great job."
Despite the quick exit, the Charger players enjoyed playing at regionals.
"It was pretty fun," said Bachman. "It's really different playing nine innings."
With several players eligible to return next year, the Chargers will likely be on of the LVL's top teams again next season.
Bath 034 022 001 - 13 13 2
No. Valley 300 000 000 - 3 5 3
Mitch, Doland (8), R. Bertolotti (9) and J. Bertolotti; Smith, Harris (4), Kern (7) and Hoch, Williams (8). HR: B - J. Bertolotti (third, none on).
Northern Valley lost its Region 2 American Legion opener Saturday, falling to BucksMont Tournament champ Pennridge, 16-13.
Pennridge took a 7-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but Northern Valley battled back to get as close as 7-5 after two innings and 11-10 after five innings.
"It was a slugfest," said Rauch.
Kern had four hits for Northern Valley. Hill had two hits, including a home run, and three RBIs. Bachman had one hit, two RBIs and three runs scored.
Pennridge 700 404 010 - 16 19 1
No. Valley 050 411 010 - 12 15 4
Myers and Mikols. Hill, Palansky (4) and Hoch. W - Myers. L - Hill. HR: NV - Hill.