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On This Date (April 27, 1993): NL’s Croll no-hits PV

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Since May of 1999, the Times News Sports Department has featured an On This Date practically every day, highlighting an event that happened in the past. With the coronavirus putting a halt to sports locally and nationally, the On This Dates have been expanded to the stories that actually ran in the next day’s newspaper. Today’s On This Date story is from April 27, 1993).

By Rod Heckman

Times News Staff

Like the Energizer Bunny, Amy Croll and Northern Lehigh just keep going on and on and on.

The Bulldogs, last year’s Centennial League champs, clinched the first half title yesterday afternoon by downing up-and-coming Pleasant Valley, 6-0.

Croll, meanwhile, made sure her team would be victorious as she followed her last performance (a no-hitter against Stroudsburg) with another no-hit game.

The senior right-hander faced an equally tough opponent in Pleasant Valley’s Stacy Frantz, but in a game between the CL’s top two teams, it was no contest as to who stole the show.

The Moravian-bound pitcher allowed just two baserunners, one on an error and another on a two-out walk in the seventh inning. She struck out nine batters, including the side in the first inning.

That performance has been typical this season, as Croll has thrown 30 innings and has allowed just eight hits, two walks and no runs. She has won five games and has struck out 29 batters.

Her recent hot streak has made head coach Dennis Hock’s job a little bit easier.

“I’ve said she was a finesse-type pitcher, but she’s rapidly becoming a power pitcher too,” said Hock. “She’s got the finesse, the power and the smartness working for her right now, and that’s an unbeatable combination.

“She’s got the ball right now. I’m not taking anything away from my other two pitchers, but when you have someone this confident and throwing as well as she is, I’ll keep giving her the ball.”

Croll’s confidence had to shoot up a notch when her team gave her an early lead to work with.

After striking out the side in the initial frame, the Bulldogs came through to post a first inning run. Marci Seip sent a one-out single to left field and promptly stole second base. Tricia Treskot then brought her home when she sent a base hit up the middle.

“That’s big when you can score right off the bat,” said Hock. “That puts pressure on the other team.”

Northern Lehigh added some more pressure by adding some more runs.

A three-spot in the second frame gave the Bulldogs a 4-0 cushion, definitely a safe advantage when Croll is on the hill.

Heather Reifinger walked to start the second and reached second base when Katrina Gellis hit a fielder’s choice grounder in which Pleasant Valley didn’t get an out.

The two botched up a double steal attempt, but it worked out well for Nolehi anyway. While Gellis was in a rundown, Reifinger eventually came around to score. Her dash home initiated a throw and Gellis wound up safe at third.

“That backfired,” said Hock. “We were able to come out of it though with a run, and when that happens you know things are going your way.”

Things continued to go Nolehi’s way in the frame as Alicen Burd followed with a walk and a stolen base. Gellis scored on a groundout by Jen Gombos, and Burd raced home when Seip tripled to center.

Trailing 4-0 against Croll and the Bulldogs, it was safe to say Pleasant Valley was in a bit of trouble. It didn’t help the Bears that Croll was getting ahead of the hitters.

“Going into the game, I knew it would be tough,” said Pleasant Valley mentor Steve Caffrey. “She throws a lot of good pitches and had a lot of our hitters off-balanced.

“She gets ahead of the batter and that really helped her out. You can do a lot when you’re ahead of the hitters and she proved that today.”

While Croll was getting ahead of the hitters, it was important that her team got ahead early on the scoreboard.

“I was hoping that we’d get a lead,” said Croll. “That always helps me. This was a really important game and I was looking forward to it since last week. I wasn’t expecting a no-hitter though because I knew they were a really good team.

“Once I got out there, I was very determined and very concentrated. Everything was working for me today. I felt strong. My catcher (Michelle Yochimowitz) and I work very well together. She calls good pitches and I count on her a lot.”

Whether they needed it or not, the Bulldogs pushed across two more insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Treskot walked and Vanessa Strohl reached base on an error.

After a flyout, Reifinger blooped a single into center field, which scored both Treskot and Strohl.

From there, Croll closed the door on Pleasant Valley and the first half championship, getting the final out fittingly on a strikeout.

GAME NOTES ... Northern Lehigh is now 8-0-1 overall and 7-0 in league play. The Bulldogs have won 31 straight regular-season league games ... Pleasant Valley’s league mark fell to 5-2 ... Seip and Reifinger had two hits apiece for Nolehi with Seip’s triple the only extra-base hit in the contest ... Frantz didn’t pitch badly in defeat, giving up five hits and three walks while striking out five ... The Bulldogs still haven’t allowed a run in a league game this season. They’ve played 40 innings and have outscored their opponent, 67-0 ... Nolehi has won the last four halves of league play and will try to make it four straight 8-0 halves when it plays at Palmerton today.

Pleasant Vy. 000 000 0 - 0 0 2

No. Lehigh 130 020 x - 6 5 1

S. Frantz and J. Frantz; Croll and Yochimowitz. W - Croll. L - S. Frantz.