No. Valley falls to Lower Mac
Northern Valley head coach Brad Rauch talks to his pitcher Eric Nothstein and catcher Aaron Rudolph during Monday’s game against Lower Macungie. CHUCK HIXSON/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Every summer, teams have to deal with the dreaded ‘v-word;’ vacations.
Sometimes, it’s one player, sometimes multiple players, but every team seems to hit that streak where they are without key players, and it can have a ripple effect through the roster and onto the field.
That’s what Northern Valley is facing right now as the regular season comes to an end. Chargers’ Coach Brad Rauch has found himself short-handed at times, which was part of the problem in a 16-2 loss to Lower Macungie Monday evening.
“It’s tough, because sometimes, it’s one guy missing and you can get away with it. In our case right now, it’s two; you don’t want to say they’re your best players, but when you don’t have your full roster, it hurts,” stressed Rauch. “One [Justin Holmes] is a pitcher, and we’re already limited on pitching, and that’s where I was today.”
Rauch came into the week knowing that he needed a lot of innings out of starter Eric Nothstein, but the concern was that the Chargers (6-6) were hosting one of the hotter teams in the league in the Lower Macungie Mustangs. Lower Macungie (7-6) is now on a five-game winning streak and has put up 58 runs in those five contest.
In the first inning, it was the Chargers jumping on Lower Macungie starter Ryan Kasye with two runs. Colten Hagadus singled and stole second ahead of back-to-back walks to Daulton Lorrah and Nothstein.
Nick Henry hit a long flyball to left to bring home Hagadus, and after another walk loaded the bases, Aaron Rudolph singled to right to make it 2-0. Kasye regrouped and struck out the next two batters to work out of any further problems.
Lower Macungie put together some timely hits in the top of the third and scored five runs against Nothstein to take a 5-2 lead. The first six batters reached base, three on walks.
“They scored five in the third and it just seemed like we went down,” noted Rauch. “It seemed like we were OK with them scoring five runs, and we have to get better.”
Nothstein was able to give Rauch four innings, before yielding to Chris Lucykanish, who went 1 1/3 frames before giving way to Daulton Lorrah.
The Mustangs plated four runs in the fifth, with three walks being issued to Lower Macungie hitters. In the sixth, Lower Mac had eight straight batters reach base with one out, and seven of them scored.
After a rough first, Kasye settled in and gave up just two hits over the next three frames. Vince Viola went the final two innings and struck out three.
“We’ve got four games left and we’re thin on pitching, although we have our two best pitchers coming up on Wednesday and Friday,” said Rauch. “The bottom line is that we have to play better baseball. We have to start limiting our mistakes, limiting the walks and play harder, or things could get pretty bad the rest of the way.”
WALK THIS WAY... Northern Valley pitchers gave up 22 walks in back-to-back losses against South Parkland and Salisbury last week. In their next two games – both wins – Chargers’ pitchers allowed just seven walks against Carbon and Allentown. In the losses, nine of the 22 walks that were issued wound up scoring. Lower Macungie hitters drew 12 walks, with seven of them scoring against the Chargers, who also hit two batters with pitches and saw both score.
SINKING FEELING... With a win over Lower Macungie, NV could have secured at least third in the playoff seedings. The loss makes things tight in the middle of the league standings, with four teams — Lower Mac, Carbon (6-7), NV and Salisbury (5-6-1) — within one game of each other. The Chargers have games remaining against Carbon, North Parkland (9-4) and a doubleheader against Emmaus (4-8).
Lower Mac 005 047 - 16 14 0
Northern Vy. 200 000 - 2 4 1
Kasye, Viola (5) and Martrich; Nothstein, Lucykanish (5), Lorrah (6) and Rudolph. W - Kasye. L - Nothstein.