Northern Valley takes over first
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS Jake Kern of Northern Valley Legion swings at the ball and hits a single in game against Lower Macungie on Sunday. Later in the game, in the eighth inning, Kern scored on a wild pitch to give his team a 3-2 win.
What a weekend the Northern Valley Legion baseball team had.
The Chargers played three games in two days, winning all three - each of them by just a single run. Two of those games were yesterday.
The victory over South Parkland, gave them sole possession of first place in the Lehigh Valley Legion League.
Last night's game was a 3-2, extra-inning win over Lower Macungie, which had been the only team to top Northern Valley this season. The Chargers also pulled out a 2-1 win over Coplay on Saturday.
It was a great pitching duel all day, with the throwers for Lower Mac giving up just three Northern Valley hits in the game.
With one out in the eighth for the Chargers, Jake Kern got a walk. The speedster from Northern Lehigh, who is headed to Colgate this fall to play football, stole second.
Then Dylan Bolton, a teammate of Kern's in high school, got to first on an infield error, while Kern moved to third.
Relief pitcher David Piscauro of Macungie threw a pitch into the dirt, bouncing it past catcher Ben Johnson. Johnson retrieved the wild pitch quickly, but not fast enough to stop Kern from beating him to the plate for the win.
Northern Valley has a 9-1 record with the three weekend wins. Lower Macungie dropped to 3-6 for the season.
On the mound for the Chargers was Sawyer Smith, a recent Northwestern High School graduate who will be playing baseball next season for McDaniel College in Westminster, Md. He went the distance, giving up six hits and striking out four. He only walked one batter and hit Ben Johnson with a pitch in the sixth.
Even though Smith was obviously tired because of the tough weekend schedule, he indicated to Coach Brad Rauch that he wanted to stay in the game after the regulation seven innings were tied at 2-2.
"I definitely wanted to stay in," Smith said. "I wanted to finish the game."
He helped his cause with an RBI double in the sixth inning that he hit to the center field fence. "I was just looking for a hit to drive into the outfield," he said rather modestly of the hardest hit ball of the game.
Despite contributing heavily to the win, he was still a little disappointed in himself, stating that his pitching wasn't as good as it should have been. "My velocity wasn't really there today," he apologized. "I knew I could spot my pitches. Fortunately, they weren't hitting the ball hard."
For Kern, scoring in the eighth was redemption for a mistake he made earlier in the game. In the fourth, he hit a single and snuck to second, the first of his two steals in the game. Dylan Bolton followed him batting and hit a soft hit to the Lightning shortstop.
Kern guessed the ball would be tossed for a sure out at first and opted to try for the plate. Instead Kern found himself in a pickle. He was tagged out trying to slide under the catcher.
"It was bad communication," laughed Kern, looking back on the situation.
Kern said there was no doubt he could score on the eighth inning passed ball. He said once he made it to third, "I just knew I was the winning run and would do anything to score. I didn't want to make any stupid decision."
Northern Valley scored in its first turn at bat when Bachman walked, stole second, got to third on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Hill, and scored on a fielder's choice play involving Tyler Cunningham.
Trailing 2-1, Northern Valley tied the game with a sixth inning run thanks to Smith's double.
L. Macungie 010 001 00 - 2 6 2
No. Valley 100 001 01 - 3 3 2
Gearhart, Piscauro (6) and Johnson; Smith and Hock. WP - Smith. LP - Piscauro.
No. Valley-So. Parkland
A seventh inning rally fell short for South Parkland, losing to Northern Valley 4-3 on Sunday afternoon.
The winning Chargers took a 1-0 lead in the first when Payton Bachman walked and eventually scored on a single by Tyler Cunningham.
South Parkland tied things at the top of the second, but the Chargers went into the lead for keeps in the bottom of the second when Talon Williams had a leadoff triple and scored on a fielders choice..
A two-run single by Cunningham gave Northern Valley some insurance in the fifth.
So. Parkland 010 0002 - 3 6 0
No. Valley 110 020 x - 4 9 1
Nelson and Augustus; Harris and M. Williams. WP - Harris. LP - Nelson.
The Chargers scored a run in the bottom of the sixth to take the 2-1 win over Coplay with Tyler Harris getting the game-winning RBI.
Ty Cunningham had a single and scored a run, while Steven Rasmussen singled and drove in a run for Northern Valley.
Jake Kern started for the winners, with Tyler Hill coming in to get the victory.
Coplay 000 010 0 - 1 6 3
No. Valley 010 001 x - 2 5 0
Feller and Fioris; Kern, Hill (6) and Hoch. WP: Hill; LP: Feller.
KEYSTONE SR. BR
The American Division scored six runs over the last three innings to take a 11-5 win over the Nationals during All-Star Weekend at Christman's Field in Franklin Township over the weekend.
Zack King of Panther Valley (0-1 with two walks a run scored and a few fine defensive web gems was the American Divbison MVP. Rich Steigerwalt of Towamensing went 1-for-2 with a solo HR and Matt Kimock of Hazleton was 2-for-3 with the go-ahead RBI double in the seventh inning.
Tom Robson on Pocono Mountain got the win, while Steven Shanton of the Franklin Hurricanes took the loss.
Rich Steigerwalt led the first round with five home runs in the Home Run Derby, but Drew Sherkness of McAdoo/Tresckow who hit four homers in both rounds for a total of eight, became the first ever back-to-back HR Derby Champion in League History.
American 001 400 141 - 11 11 1
National 002 111 000 - 5 9 6
W - Robson (PM). L - Shanton (FT Hurricanes). S - Trivett (ES).