OREFIELD – When the first-place Northern Valley legion team met perennial league power North Parkland Sunday in Orefield, the Buffaloes had more than just revenge on their mind.
The Buffaloes, which lost to Northern Valley three days earlier, also wanted to make a statement that no matter which team is in first place, the Lehigh Valley League title runs through North Parkland.
Behind a solid pitching performance from Mike Tenaglia and some clutch hitting from Kyle Stinner, the Buffaloes (9-3) beat the Chargers 6-3.
"Revenge was a factor, but we were out here to win a game," said Stinner, who went 3-for-4 with three RBI. "We want to win the league and we have to win games to do that. As North Parkland, we expect to be that No. 1 team. When a team is ahead of us, we need to make that statement that we're getting right back into this. We're excited. It puts us in great position. We're going to keep on winning."
Northern Valley (11-3) had a comfortable first-place lead over North Parkland last Thursday. But a loss to Fullerton Saturday and Sunday's setback has them just two wins ahead in the win column, but all even in the loss column.
"We had two rough days here," said Northern Valley head coach Brad Rauch. "Our guys aren't going to roll over and let this one go. They want to be top dog and they're not going to let a North Parkland team or any team in the league stop them from getting there.
"Our goal since the beginning of the year has been to finish out on top."
The Buffaloes took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Matthew Smith hit a one-out triple and scored on a Stinner single.
The Chargers got the run back in the second on an RBI single by Zach Palansky (2 for 3). They took a brief lead in the fourth. Jake Kern reached on a two-base error and then took third and scored on wild pitches.
North Parkland took the lead for good in the fourth. The Buffaloes loaded the bases with no outs and scored three runs on a sacrifice fly, a wild pitch and an error.
Northern Valley committed two errors and made one mental mistake (allowing a bunt single when first base was left uncovered) in the fourth.
"They capitalized on a couple key mistakes we made," Rauch said. "They have a good team. They're pitcher did an excellent job today. They're kind of like us. They're a well balanced team."
Tenaglia allowed seven hits in the complete game while striking out eight and walking three.
"Everything was working," he said. "My fastball was coming in pretty hard today. My slider was working. Even my knuckleball was working, which I'm surprised. It doesn't usually cross for a strike. Today it did."
Northern Valley scored its last run in the fifth. Payton Bachman (2 for 4) led off with an infield single and scored when Sawyer Smith reached base on an error to make it 4-3.
Tanaglia retired five straight batters before allowing back to back singles with two outs in the seventh before finishing off the win.
The Buffaloes added runs in the fifth and sixth. Stinner and Andrew Steigler hit back to back singles to lead off the fifth. Stinner scored from third when Steigler got into a run down.
In the sixth, Stinner singled to drive in Boo Weaver for a 6-3 lead.
Northern Valley had won eight straight before the back to back losses. With six games left in the 18-game LVL regular season, Rauch still likes his team's position.
"At the end of the day we're still in first place," he said. "It's going to take North Parkland playing good baseball the rest of the year to beat us out for that No. 1 spot. We're going to see them again in the playoffs. Once playoffs start everybody's back to a 0-0 record."
No. Valley 010 110 0 – 3 7 3
No. Parkland 100 311 x – 6 9 1
Kern, Hill (6) and Hoch; Tenaglia and Stinner. W – Tenaglia. L – Kern.
Tyler Harris struck out 10 batters but Fullerton made good use of its six hits to gain a 4-1 victory over Northern Valley on Saturday.
Payton Bachman had two hits, one a double, and scored his team's only run. Tyler Hill had a hit and RBI while Harris also tripled.
Northern Vy. 000 001 0 - 1 6 1
Fullerton 202 000 x - 4 6 0
Harris and Hoch; Sverha and Umbenhauer. W - Sverha. L - Harris. HR: Fullerton - Fuentes (1st, none on).