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FT rolls past Palmerton

It was an opportunity Franklin Township mentor JC Dietz saw his team let slip away against a Palmerton team that seized momentum early.

Trailing 2-0 and batting in the bottom of the first inning with the bases loaded and no outs, Dietz watched his team push across one run on a fielder’s choice before ultimately leaving runners at second and third base.

Dietz knows his team has to maximize opportunities when it gets them. Or when it can create them, something that was the calling card of Dietz’s Lehighton squad in the spring.

Franklin found ways to put its pressure in play against Palmerton, rolling to a 12-2 win in six innings Friday night in Lehigh Valley Senior Connie Mack action.

Call it small ball or smart ball, Dietz implores his team to run the bases the right way and understand situational hitting, something he reminded them of after the first inning.

“Being their manager in high school helps, and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to do this to be able to spend an extra two months with them,” said Dietz, “because a lot of them are sophomores coming through, and we’ll be losing seven seniors next year. That’s how you have to play baseball. One thing I know about high school baseball or baseball at any level, is that you have to get runners on base, and you have to hit when they’re on base, and you have to throw strikes.

“We don’t have a lot of big boppers, so when we get runners on, we try to put pressure on them. We try to steal, squeeze bunt, hit and run, whatever it is, to try to get the guys in motion and help our hitting. What I like about this group is that they do play like that.”

Franklin (4-1) collected eight hits in the contest but also stole 13 bases, with Zoltan Bedocs swiping three and Hunter Kintz, Mike Santana and Konner Nalesnik two apiece. Franklin surged ahead with five runs in the bottom of the third inning to go ahead 7-2.

Bedocs started the frame with a single before Cole Dietz followed with a hit to bring him in. Jake Lewis followed with a walk, and Dietz - who moved to third on a wild pitch - scored on an error. Santana scored on a wild pitch, and Pierce Goida brought in Kintz with an RBI hit to make it 6-2 before an out was recorded.

After a strikeout, Carter Bellis dropped down a sacrifice to score Talin Fairchild and make it 7-2.

It was more than enough run support for Lewis, who struck out five and allowed just three hits over six innings of work to earn the win on the mound.

“I think just understanding that their pitcher is good, and also that, no matter what they’re likely going to score runs,” said Palmerton mentor Randan Solt. “And we have to be able to get those runs. Putting pressure on them with our base running makes the game harder for them as a pitcher and the infield. He was able to shut us down, but if we can get those hits, it becomes a different game.”

Lewis drove in a run with an RBI groundout in the bottom of the fourth to score Bedocs, who singled on a bunt and made it 8-2. Lewis also delivered a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth to score Dietz and Nalesnik. Ashton Wentz pushed the lead to 11-2 with a single to score Kintz.

Landon Abelovsky’s two-out double scored Wentz to make it 12-2 and invoke the mercy rule.

Palmerton (4-2) took an early lead with a leadoff single by Luke Matsko, a walk by Corey Serfass and a groundout by Gaige McGowan that plated Matsko, who advanced to third on a passed ball.

After Brady Reph was hit by a pitch, Mason Becker walked. Serfass stole third and eventually scored on a wild pitch as Reph moved to third with one out.

A groundout by Greyson Ahner moved Becker to second with Reph still at third, but Lewis got a pop out to end the inning and the threat.


... Bedocs finished the game 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Lewis helped his own cause and knocked in four runs. Nalesnik, Dietz and Kintz all scored twice. Goida, Abelovsky, Fairchild and Dietz also had one stolen base. “I thought that the bottom of the order did a better job of putting the ball in play, whether it was bunting or getting that runner in from third base with less than two outs,” said JC Dietz.


... Serfass doubled in the top of the third inning for the Bombers. Alex Keiper also had a hit for Palmerton.

Palmerton 200 000 - 2 3 5

Franklin Twp. 115 104 - 12 8 2

Keiper, Serfass (3), Ahner (5) and Reph; Lewis and Stubits. W - Lewis. L - Keiper.

Franklin's Zoltan Bedocs slides safely into second beating the throw to Palmerton's Mason Becker. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS