No. Valley Connie Mack goes 12-9 in LV League
Injuries are a part of sports. They can’t prepared for or anticipated.
Unfortunately for the Northern Valley Connie Mack baseball team, it was a couple of injuries that played a big part in the squad not returning to the state tournament this summer, according to manager Dave Laudaslager.
Still, Northern Valley completed the summer season with a successful mark despite missing two of its top players in pitcher Mason Vogwill and infielder Trevor Schreiner. Northern Valley went 12-9 in the regular season and qualified for the Lehigh Valley playoffs just a couple of weeks ago.
The only question left on the table was what could have been if Northern Valley was at full strength.
“It was good for this season especially because we have a lot of young players, and we were missing players,” Laudaslager said. “There were a lot of players on vacation and stuff, and we had a couple of key injuries. For awhile there, we were looking like we weren’t going to make the playoffs. But the kids stepped up at the end and really won some key games.”
Northern Valley was an inning away from making it back to the state tournament. But blowing a lead to Northampton in the first round of those Lehigh Valley playoffs cost the Chargers a chance at reaching that level.
Vogwill went down with an injury in the second game of the season. Shortly after Schreiner, who started on the Northwestern High School varsity team this past spring, missed time as well.
“Our No. 1 pitcher was out for most of the season, so that hurt us a lot,” Laudaslager said. “He wasn’t available for the playoffs. If we would have had him and one other player, I think we could have made some noise in the state tournament. I think we could have went as far as we went last year.”
Regardless of who was available or not, the team’s fight and determination was never in question. Under Laudaslager and coach Eric Klein, every player that put on a Northern Valley uniform in the summer played a pivotal part in its 12 victories. There was no one player greater than the rest of the team.
And to Laudaslager, seeing that group of nearly two dozen baseball players improve over the course of the summer is more important that anything.
“We had 20 kids on the roster… and every kid at some point in the season contributed and helped us win and get to the playoffs,” Laudaslager said. “Being able to play all 20 kids, and have all 20 kids contribute, that means more to me than getting to the state tournament. Seeing kids get better throughout the season, and seeing every kid contribute, that means more to us coaches than winning a championship.”
Much of this year’s lineup will return next season with experience credited to their names. And Laudaslager hopes the interest from Northern Lehigh grows as well to match its Northwestern counterparts already on the field. Those additions and a healthy lineup could prove to be a recipe for success in 2017.
“I think some teams might have thought we might’ve had the best team had we had everybody there,” Laudaslager said. “At full strength when we had everybody there, you couldn’t beat our hitting. We had the strongest offensive in the league.”