What are the two crucial components to a successful ball club? Most coaches agree the answer to that very question is pitching and defense.
Considering, it's now April 1st and mother nature still hasn't made up her mind what season it is, most teams are going to have to rely heavily on their pitching and defense.
A strong pitching performance by Northwestern's Josh Williamson and solid defense by the Tigers was the winning combination in the Tigers' 10-0 Colonial League victory over Palmerton.
Williamson pitched a very strong, efficient five innings; yielding just two hits and striking out six Bombers.
"Having a guy like Williamson throw the way he did today takes a burden off of the rest of the staff," said Northwestern coach Len Smith. "We're looking for Josh and Eden (Brandon) to lead the way for our pitching staff this year."
The Tigers had some early offense from Brady Mengel and Isaac Fatzinger whom combined for three RBIs in the first four innings.
The game was a manageable 5-0 Northwestern lead after four innings of play.
Palmerton coach Mike Svetik liked what he saw from his starting pitcher Ty Achtermann early in the ball game.
"He kept the ball down low and I thought he pitched well today," said Palmerton coach Mike Svetik. "He only got taken out because he's on a pitch count this early in the season. Our upcoming schedule is packed with games and we need to keep the guys fresh early on."
Achtermann pitched three innings as Ben Weber came in to relieve him.
The Tigers appeared to be making solid contact early in the game, but the fielding of Palmerton was strong enough to limit their offense until the fifth inning.
"The fielding was a big positive for us today. It exceeded what I thought it would be because this is the first time we were on an actual infield all year," said Svetik.
Everything clicked offensively for the Tigers in the fifth. Fatzinger continued his strong day at the dish as he smacked a double and added two more RBIs during the contest. Fatzinger finished the day with three hits with two doubles and three RBIs.
"It's early in the season and it's been a rough start. Today I think we performed well. Williamson looked good on the mound and we had some timely hitting," said Smith. "Hopefully as time goes on we'll get better. We have the ability to score some runs. It's early, but I really think we're going to come together. I saw a ton of progression since game one of this year."
Despite the Bombers' lack of offense, Svetik mentioned that Mark Quinn had a few solid at bats in the contest.
"I thought Mark had a few nice at bats. He came up huge for us during his sophomore year last year and I expect him to do well this season. I'm a little disappointed in some of our guys, I expect them to be a bit more aggressive than they were today."
The Palmerton coach continued, "We're looking for a bunch of our sophomores and juniors to jell as a team. I think we're doing a good job of talking and communicating out there. The hitting will come as the season moves on."
As for the Tigers, they're moving forward in this young season with a strong nucleus of talent returning from last year.
"We had a very successful season last year with a young group and we only lost two seniors out of that bunch," Smith said "We want to build on the success we had last year and we certainly have the ability to do that. The biggest question mark we have right now is our pitching. Once we get our pitching solidified, things will be looking fine."
Palmerton 000 00 - 0
Northwestern 031 15 - 10
Achtermann, Weber (4) and Cook; Williamson and Breidinger. W - Williamson. L - Achtermann.