Northern Vy. zips Salisbury
NANCY SCHOLZ/Special to THE TIMES NEWS Northern Valley's Josh Kern hurls a shutout at Salisbury in Lehigh Valley Legion action.
For the Northern Valley baseball team, hitting and pitching finally came together.
And not a moment too soon.
The Chargers (8-6) dispatched Salisbury 10-0, positioning them for a deep playoff run with just over a week left in the regular season.
"We're in a nice spot," Northern Valley coach Brad Rauch said. "We went through playing game after game earlier in the season and a lot of other teams are going through that now.
"Other teams are using up all their assets and we're kind of resting our guys and getting in a bit of a playoff mode."
The Chargers racked up 11 hits against a Salisbury (8-4) squad that came into the contest one game out of first place in the league.
"This is the best I've seen this team play all year," Rauch said. "Today, I think we kind of turned the page a little bit where we really started to hit the ball.
"If we keep it going, I'll be satisfied. They're young guys getting used to a wooden bat league, but they're starting to turn it around a little bit now. I was impressed today."
The catalyst for the Northern Valley offense was Cody Hallman, who went 3-for-3 with four RBIs and two doubles. The breakout is something Hallman hopes will continue as the team inches closer to the postseason.
"We've been struggling a little bit lately so this is a big hitting day for us as a team, not just myself," said Hallman. "Hopefully we can just carry this on into the playoffs."
Kris Seiler went 2-for-3 with a two-run double in the first to start the scoring blitz and capped the afternoon with an RBI triple to score pitcher Josh Kern in the sixth.
The Chargers scored a run in every inning but the second, never giving Salisbury a chance to recover from the offensive onslaught.
Kern, who allowed one hit in six shutout innings of work also kept the Salisbury offense at bay.
The hit didn't come until the fifth inning when Salisbury's Nic Ampietro picked up an infield single, which was later negated by an Evan Kulig double play.
Kern admitted that knowing the offense was putting runs on the board made it easier for him to go out and concentrate on what he had to do on the mound.
"Getting those runs helped because I knew they were a good offensive team," Kern said of the Salisbury squad. "This really brings a lot of confidence to the whole team with the way our offense performed because we were struggling a little bit here and there in different games."
While Kern shifted the focus to the Chargers' offense, Rauch lauded what his hurler was able to do against a stacked Salisbury lineup.
"Josh has been a pitcher for me for two years now and I think that was by far the best performance I've ever seen from him," Rauch said. "He had it all today; the curveball worked well; his off-speed pitches worked well.
"He's a pitcher that can use location to keep other teams off balance and that's key. Salisbury is one of the best hitting teams in the league and to shut them down is impressive."
If the offense and pitching continue to click for the Chargers, the sky's the limit for a squad that's starting to gel at the right time.
Salisbury 000 000 - 0 1 1
Northern Vy. 301 231 - 10 11 0
Rogers, Kulig (5), Nicholas (6) and Kulig, Adams (5); Kern and Breidinger, Williams (6). W - Kern. L - Rogers.