Lehigh Valley moves on to Cup semis
DON HERB/Special to THE TIMES NEWS Northern Lehigh's Jake Kern swings for a base hit in Friday's Carpenter Cup win for the Lehigh Valley team at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown.
ALLENTOWN - The Lehigh Valley Carpenter Cup baseball team is going from playing in one Philadelphia Phillies' ballpark to another.
Whereas the team played its quarterfinal match-up with Olympic Colonial at Coca Cola Park Friday morning, it will now get to see what it feels like to play in the biggest of big-league stadiums - Citizen's Bank Park.
Lehigh Valley came from behind to dispatch of Olympic Colonial, 8-4 in a rain-shortened contest. Trailing 4-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth, the locals plated five runs to take a 6-4 lead. They would tack on two more runs in the sixth before the skies opened up in the middle of the eighth and the game was called.
"We have good ball players," said Lehigh Valley manager Ted Plessl. "The bottom line is every team that you are going to play is going to come with quality players. You are going to have bumps in the road as you go through a nine inning ball game.
"We kept letting our kids know that this is a nine inning ball game. A lot of things can happen in a nine inning game that won't happen in a seven inning game. I think our kids understand that and they are starting to build that camaraderie that you need going forward."
Olympic Colonial scored three runs in the second inning and one in the third with all of its runs coming with two outs. Two runs were unearned because Lehigh Valley committed two errors in the second.
However, the local all-stars bounced back with a huge fourth inning. Easton's Justin Pacchioli came through with the biggest hit of the day, as he laced a bases-clearing double to left-center to tie the game at four. He would later score on a wild pitch, while teammate Davin Pagan also scored on an error.
From there on it was all Karl Keglovitz. The Nazareth ace took the hill in the fifth and fanned eight batters in three innings of work. He struck out the side in the fifth before working his way out of a jam in the sixth. The bases were loaded with one out due to two errors and a fielder's choice, but Keglovitz managed to get the last two outs via the punch-out. He then struck out the first two batters in the eighth before inducing a groundout.
"We kind of had it set that way coming into today's game, with Karl coming in for the later innings," said Plessl. "He comes through. He is a big-time player."
Palmerton's Christian Marcin led the way for the TIMES NEWS area. He finished the day 2-for-3 with two singles, a stolen base and a run scored. It is Marcin's second straight game with at least two hits.
"I just stepped up to the plate, wanted to look the ball in and make contact," said Marcin. "I wanted to hit the ball, get on base and score.
"It feels awesome. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance and I am glad that I can be on this team and helping out."
Northern Lehigh's Jake Kern also had a hit. He singled to lead off the game and went 1-for-2.
"We all came together as a team," Kern said. "We knew what we had to do once we got down. We just wanted to try to score a couple runs each inning, but we were able to get a bunch."
Lehighton's Tyler Hill started in left field and reached base twice on a pair of walks. He also scored a run. Pleasant Valley's Drew Borger entered the game in the fifth and had a walk and a stolen base.
LV advances to play the winner of Jersey Shore/Tri-Cape on Monday at 9:30 a.m. at Citizen's Bank Park.
"It can't get any better than playing in a professional ballpark," said Plessl. "That's what the Carpenter Cup has always been about."
Olympic Col. 031 000 00 - 4 8 3
Lehigh Vy. 010 502 0x - 8 11 4
Wilson, Wallace (4), Volpe (6) and Kerr, Myers (6); Casey, Stoudt (2), Yanek (5), Keglovitz (6) and Kramer, Pacchioli (4). W - Stoudt. L - Wallace. S - Keglovitz.