After two innings of play, it looked like it was going to be another long night for manager Brad Rauch and the Northern Valley baseball team.
A six-run second inning gave visiting Emmaus a comfortable early lead, but the Chargers showed more life in the late innings to make things interesting.
A sixth inning rally made things interesting, but in the end the Chargers fell short as the hosts dropped an 8-6 Lehigh Valley Legion Baseball League decision on Thursday evening.
The first time the two teams met this season Emmaus ran away with a 7-1 victory. Rauch saw glimpses of that happening once again in the early going yesterday, but after speaking to his team briefly in the bottom of the sixth inning, he received what he had been asking for the whole game.
"Our biggest thing all year is that we struggle to get the extra base hits," Rauch said. "We get guys with singles here and there all the time. But we continue to struggle to produce the balls in the gap and to get these guys to score.
"Today, we were able to do that in the sixth inning."
Kris Seiler tried to get things going for his team in the fourth with a leadoff home run, but Emmaus starting pitcher Jake Fick remained in command as his team took an 8-2 lead into the sixth inning.
Zach Palansky finally fueled the fire Northern Valley needed when he led off the sixth inning with a double. Seiler reached base by hits batsman and then Sawyer Smith drilled a triple to right-center to plate Palansky and Seiler.
Rauch was happy the Chargers' designated hitter was able to pull through in that inning.
"Sawyer Smith was big for us as our designated hitter," said Rauch, who worked with Smith on his stance a bit before the game. "He has struggled a bit all year. I told him today coming into the game that he was going to at least have one shot into the gap that was going to be big for us and he pulled through by doing so."
Cody Hallman made it even closer with an RBI single to score Smith.
The Chargers threatened in the seventh inning as Seiler added another two-bagger, but they couldn't build on it as Emmaus hung on for the victory.
"All these guys have good attitudes, good hearts," Rauch said. "They have a goal and that's to make the playoffs and get back to regionals. They'll get there.
"That sixth inning was big for us, but we got to put more innings like that together. We can't have just one inning. We got to play a seven inning game and have four or five innings like that where we're scoring runs all the time."
Seiler was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle and scored twice while Jake Kern (single, double) and Austin Kelly (single, triple, run scored) also played well..
Emmaus 060 200 0 - 8 12 1
No. Valley 100 104 0 - 6 12 2
Fick, L. Miller (6) and Koenig; Jo. Kern, Harris (2) and Breidinger, Williams (6). W - Fick. L - Jo. Kern. HR: NV - Seiler (4th, none on).