The game of baseball can definitely work in mysterious ways.
Sometimes in favor of a team, sometimes against a team.
Things went in favor of Northwestern on Monday afternoon, while they went against host Palmerton.
The Tigers were only able to muster four hits off the Bombers' pitching staff, but they found a way to cross home plate numerous times to score a lopsided 12-3 Colonial League victory. Meanwhile, the Bombers racked up double digits in hits (10), but couldn't turn them into enough runs to stay within reach.
It wasn't a pretty victory, but it's one the Tigers' mentor Len Smith will take anyway.
"I guess we capitalized on the misplays in the field and the number of walks we had early on really helped in that regard," said Smith, who watched his team benefit from 12 walks and five Bomber miscues. "No matter how long you have been around this game, you keep seeing something different. This is simply baffling knowing we only had four hits and still won this easily."
It all started in the first inning when the Tigers (4-1 overall, 2-1 in the league) pushed four runs across without recording a single hit. Instead, they took advantage of four walks and two errors.
In the fourth, the Tigers finally got a trio of hits in addition to a few more walks off of the Bombers' starter CJ Cressman. Nick Rodriguez collected the Tigers' first hit off the right-hander and then Austin Kelly delivered a two-run single. Ty Cunningham added a three-run inside-the-park homerun, which occured when the Bomber left fielder Tanner Gutekunst fell over the fence attempting to make the catch while the ball fell at the base of the fence. Cunningham was able to circle the bases before Gutekunst could get back inside the fence and retrieve the ball. The home run increased the Tigers' lead to 9-0.
"We have some hitting ability, but we're just inconsistent right now," Smith said. "Hopefully, as the season progresses, we'll get better. It's something we have been working on and we keep emphasizing, but it's something we need to keep reminding some of these guys. We need to keep focused at the plate all the time.
"Hopefully we will improve and hopefully as we progress through the season we'll get better and better that's all we can hope for."
Trailing 11-0 heading into the home fifth, the Bombers were able to avoid the mercy rule by scoring three times. Singles by Brett Snyder, Mike Horvath and Cody Geist loaded the bases with two out. Aaron Cook reached on an error, which allowed Snyder and Horvath to score. Gutekunst added an RBI infield single.
"Palmerton never quits," Smith said. "They have never done that in all the years we have played them. I can remember a number of cases where you think you have the upper hand and all of a sudden they come back and they're back in the ball game."
Northwestern was able to stop the rally at that point however, keeping the Bombers (0-2, 0-5) winless on the season
Kelly paced the Tigers with a single, two runs scored, two RBIs and two walks. Kyle Lutton pinch hit late in the game and drilled a triple and scored the Tigers' final run.
Palmerton got two hits apiece from Snyder, Gutekunst and Mike Sander.
Northwestern 400 520 1 - 12 4 2
Palmerton 000 030 0 - 3 10 5
Perry, Smith (7) and Breidinger; Cressman, Geist (5), Peters (7) and Kuntz. W - Perry. L - Cressman. HR: NW - Cunningham (4th, two on).