Chargers top Buffaloes
Northern Valley and North Parkland played Sunday’s Lehigh Valley Legion game in a wind that helped to turn the game into a wild affair, with the Chargers beating the Buffaloes 9-8 in extra innings.
The winning run scored in the bottom of the ninth when Isaac Fatzinger lifted a fly ball to center field to score John Taylor from third with the winning run. Taylor led off the inning with a base-hit, stole second and then moved to third on a wild pitch by Evan McAndrew.
Northern Valley jumped out to an 8-3 lead after four innings in what seemed would be an easy win. Already up 2-0, the Chargers put together back-to-back three-run innings in the third and fourth. Ben Cordova drove in a run with a fourth inning single and Taylor and Fatzinger both picked up an RBI when they were hit by pitches with the bases loaded. An error and two more hit batters led to three runs for Northern Valley to put them up 8-3.
North Parkland started to work its way back in the fifth when Justin Afflerbach led off the inning with a long, wind-aided home run to right field and one batter later, McAndrew smashed a ball to right that also got some extra distance from the gusting wind to make it 8-6. With a runner on second and two outs, Alex Konya delivered an RBI single to cut the Chargers lead to one. The Buffaloes would tie the game in the sixth on an RBI groundout by McAndrew.
“I admit, I was getting a little nervous there because they’ve done that to us so many times where we thought we had the game and they came back to beat us,” said Chargers manager Brad Rauch. “It’s nice to be on the other end of one of those games where we were able to come back and get the win.”
Niko Fager, who came on in relief in the fourth inning, got stronger as the game went on and after allowing the sixth inning run, he retired 11 of the next 13 batters through the end of the game.
“I started to settle in and I knew we could score some runs, so I was able to just work on getting guys out,” said Fager. “I’m used to throwing a lot, so it wasn’t tough to go out there for that long.”
Northern Valley got a runner to second in both the seventh and eighth innings, but couldn’t push them across. In the ninth, Taylor and Fatzinger worked their magic to bring home the winning run in the 9-8 contest.
The Chargers moved to 2-4 on the season, while North Parkland is 3-4.
“Every season it takes us four or five games to start to gel, because we pull from four high schools, so the kids have to get used to each other and we have to figure out just what we’ve got,” said Rauch. “We’ve got a good group of talented kids and they’re starting to come together and have fun playing the game and that’s what we’re looking for to help them be successful.”