Cordova leads NV to win over CC
Ben Cordova had a choice to make. And he picked his team over his vacation.
The Northern Valley pitcher had a vacation scheduled during the final week of the Lehigh Valley Legion Baseball League season. But he cut the trip short, made the three-hour drive back from Ocean City, Maryland, and pitched an 11-0 complete-game shutout over Carbon County last Thursday at Northern Lehigh High School to help solidify the Chargers’ position for this week’s playoffs.
“It was coming down here to the last couple of games of the year where every game counts,” said Cordova, who only spent three days at the shore. “I told (Northern Valley coach Brad Rauch) I was going on vacation on Monday. I was like, ‘Hey, I know we need to get a win down the stretch. I will come back up here for whatever game you need me.’
Cordova, who played for Lehighton High School in spring, allowed just three hits and struck out four batters on the team made up of players mostly from Lehighton and Jim Thorpe high schools.
“It was nice to be able to come back against a team with a little more story to it,” he said. “It was all in all worth the trip back up to get this win against a team like that.”
It was a much better outing than the 12-8 loss he suffered to Carbon County early in the season in which he pitched less than three innings and gave up eight runs.
“Cordova pitched probably the best game that I have seen him pitch all year,” Rauch said. “He pitched against them the last time we played them and they rocked him. He gave up 12 runs.
“Last time, he was a little juiced up probably because he played high school with these guys. It was nice to see him come out today and pitch kind of against a baseball team rather than a bunch of guys he knew.”
Cordova was happy to pitch with a 2-0 lead after the first inning.
“We are a team with so much potential in the lineup,” Cordova said. “We have that power and the ability to get that ball in play. Coming from a pitcher’s standpoint, it’s 100 percent better with a lead and pitching with an offense that is a powerhouse behind you than pitching when you’re scrapping for runs. It absolutely makes all the difference in the world when you got guys that will go up there and stick the ball like they did today.”
Northern Valley lead-off hitter Niko Fager laced a double to start things off. Four pitches later, Josh Williamson blasted a ball over the left field fence for a 2-0 lead.
In the third inning, Cordova had an RBI-single and Tyler Wiik delivered a two-run home run.
The fourth inning saw the Chargers bolt away with the game. Fager recorded an RBI-double and both John Taylor and Wiik added RBI-singles. Evan Meixsell hit a triple to right-center with bases load, which finished the scoring off for the hosts.
Carbon County had runners in scoring position in each of the first four innings but Cordova and the Charger defense kept the Monarchs off the scoreboard.
“Baseball is a funny game,” Monarchs coach Donnie Rehrig said. “You never expect that you’re going to do the same thing that you did the first time against a team. I felt confident coming in that the way we played the first time. It was a different outcome obviously tonight, but all in all it’s disappointing. It’s just overall frustrating that you’re fighting for a playoff spot and you lose 11-0. It’s just not good baseball.”
Every single Charger his collected a hit in the game. Fager (two doubles, two runs scored, a RBI), Josh Williamson (single, home run, two runs scored, two RBIs) and Tyler Wiik (single, home run, two runs scored, three RBIs) that paced the victors with multiple hit games.
The Chargers lost their season finale to North Parkland, 5-4 last Friday. They finish the season 9-9, tied with four other teams for the fourth seed in this week’s eight-team playoff tournament. All four teams went 1-1 against one another in the regular season and the seeding could come down to a coin flip.
The winner of the double-elimination playoff tournament will represent the Lehigh Valley League in the regional tournament.