Bombers tame PV
MIKE FEIFEL/TIMES NEWS Palmerton's Lee Kuntz tags out Panther Valley's Jake Szczecina at home to end the first inning. Szczecina tried to score from third on a passed ball.
A day after Palmerton needed nine innings to defeat Colonial League rival Catasauqua, the Bombers worked quickly to dispatch Panther Valley 12-2 in five innings for a convincing non-league victory.
Panther Valley got on the board first with an RBI single from starter Colton Black, but the Bombers (3-0 overall, 1-0 Colonial League) answered quickly in the bottom of the first with a sacrifice fly from Carl Cressman to score starting pitcher Lee Kuntz, who stole second and third to get into scoring position.
The Panthers (0-1) got another run in the top of the second off Kuntz, but Palmerton responded with four runs in the bottom half and the rout was on, as the Bombers scored seven runs over the final three innings to seal the victory.
Palmerton coach Mike Svetik knows the outcome could have been different had a few bounces not gone his team's way.
"There were little things that went wrong in the first inning and they (Panther Valley) had a chance to put a lot more runs on the board," Svetik said. "But we fought through it and did what we're supposed to do and shut them out the rest of the way and that's how you win games."
Palmerton got three shutout innings from reliever Eli Borger to keep Panther Valley's offense at bay. Borger's strong performance was key in this contest, especially after Palmerton needed extra innings to secure the win less than 24 hours earlier.
"We didn't know what we had there (with Borger) and he's been our surprise kid," Svetik said. "There's no doubt that he's up there at the top of the pitching staff.
"We got a few runs and he came in there and shut them down."
The victory puts Palmerton two wins shy of its total from a year ago, but coach Mike Svetik knows that the team still has a lot of work to do
"We have to stay within ourselves,"said Svetik. "I keep telling the kids that it's nothing right now and they just have to keep going out there and plugging away at it.
"Coach Sander and I preach to the kids that they have to stay positive, stay focused and continue to do the little things."
Ultimately, it was the little things the doomed Panther Valley, both on the mound and in the field, which Panther Valley coach John Cooper felt was the turning point in the game.
"We gave them too many free bases," Cooper said. "Combine that with the walks, and the errors and the mental mistakes and that'll do it.
"After the first inning everything looked good and then in the second inning we just couldn't throw strikes."
Cooper felt that the Panthers were a little bit too conservative at the plate, which made crawling out of an early hole even more difficult.
"Offensively, I just didn't like our approach today," Cooper said. "We were hesitant and weren't aggressive in certain situations.
"We had a chance to put three or four runs on the board in the first inning, but we took too many fastballs looking and got ourselves in bad situations. If we put three or four up in the first inning it could have been a different ball game."
Panther Vy. 110 00 - 2 3 3
Palmerton 145 11 - 12 8 1
C. Black, Terry (3) and Buss; Kuntz, Borger (3) and Peters, Zmyewski (5). W - Kuntz. L - Black.