LV settles for tie in all-star game
The Lehigh Valley and Berks-Schuylkill Legion All-Star teams battled to a 5-5 tie in 10 innings of baseball at Reading's FirstEnergy Stadium Monday night. Both teams had opportunities to win the game, but just when one team would gain an advantage, the other would come fighting back.
Tamaqua's Matt Roberts started for Schuylkill-Berks and put down Lehigh Valley in order in the top of the first and North Parkland's Nate Kern did the same against Schuylkill-Berks in the bottom of the inning.
Kern, who is attending Boston University, enjoys the opportunity to come back to play with former teammates and was excited to start in his first all-star game. As it turned out, Kern returned to pitch the 10th inning for Lehigh Valley, as well.
"This is great and I'm really looking forward to it," said Kern prior to the game. "To get to play in this environment and be here with all of these guys, it's great."
Neither team was able to get a baserunner in the first, but Lehigh Valley loaded the bases with two outs in the second, only to see Oley/Topton's Bryson Turner come back to get the third out and keep the game scoreless.
In the bottom of the second though, Coplay's Bryce Crum wasn't as lucky. Three walks loaded the bases and a fourth forced in a run. The big blow came from Fleetwood's Wes Hawkins, who singled to drive in two for the home team, giving Schuylkill-Berks a 3-0 lead.
Pitching controlled the game until the fourth, when Lehigh Valley used some fundamentals to plate a run.
A leadoff single from Kyle Novobilski of South Parkland got things started and a sacrifice and a stolen base moved him to third with one out. West Allentown's Misael Sanchez singled to drive him home and later in the inning nearly scored the second run of the game for Lehigh Valley. A walk put Sanchez on second and he attempted to steal third, with the throw sailing into left field.
Sanchez popped up and headed for the plate, but left fielder Kody Reichart of Kutztown made a good play to back-up the throw and threw a strike to the plate to nail Sanchez and keep it a 3-1 game.
Two singles, two stolen bases and another errant throw to third would plate another run for Lehigh Valley in the sixth, cutting the gap to 3-2. Two innings later, a leadoff walk to Emmaus' Joel Bartoni set the table for Salisbury's Jonathan Benitez, who doubled to drive in Bartoni. Benitez moved to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a single by Zach Blose of West Allentown to put Lehigh Valley up 4-3 with their first lead of the game.
Schuylkill-Berks came right back in the bottom of the frame, taking advantage of an error to start the inning. Back-to-back singles tied the game at 4-4 and left Schuylkill-Berks with runners on first and third and one out. Salisbury's Chris Bishop worked out of the jam and recorded the final two outs of the inning for Lehigh Valley.
The game remain tied going into the 10th and final inning when back-to-back infield errors with two outs allowed Lehigh Valley's Jared Yext of Southern Lehigh to score the go-ahead run.
In the bottom of the 10th, an error by Lehigh Valley, followed by a double from Tamaqua's Nate McDonald put runners on second and third with nobody out. A sacrifice fly plated a run to make it 5-5, but Kern got the final two outs, keeping it a tie game.
"It was a great game and it's a lot of fun," said Northern Valley's Ben Cordova, who threw a scoreless inning, striking out one. "Just to get to play with these guys and get to know them a little bit, it was a lot of fun."
The game was the fifth annual all-star game between the two sides and the proceeds benefit the Lebanon Veterans Administration Medical Center.