Big first inning beats Salisbury
It did not take much time for Northwestern to get on top of Salisbury yesterday afternoon. A three-run first inning put the Tigers out in front where they would stay for good. That quick burst proved to be crucial, as only one other run would be scored during the remaining six innings (one in third by Northwestern) as they defeated the Falcons 4-0 at Northwestern Lehigh High School.
“It was important for us to get out early,” said head coach Robert Fatzinger. “Whenever you’re playing a team like Salisbury that has had recent success, especially at home, you want to get some momentum early and let the kids go out and finish the job. And they were able to do that.”
Six players reached base in the bottom of the first inning, highlighted by singles from Tyler Schreiner, Tyler Wilk, Zach Stanley, and Mason Vogwill as Northwestern (11-6 overall, 8-3 Colonial League) wasted no time in putting themselves in a good position to win.
“Getting your leadoff guy on is always important, and Tyler led off with a single, which was huge because it led to a big inning,” Fatzinger said. “They made some mistakes and helped us out a little bit, but we hit the ball hard and made some things happen.”
Backed by the early cushion, starting pitcher Niko Fager looked comfortable on the mound and gave Fatzinger and his team six solid, shutout innings in posting the win.
“We needed this one,” said Fatzinger. “Today we had good pitching [from Fager and Jacob Haas who closed it in the seventh]. We needed someone to give us some innings because we were short-staffed with some other guys being used up. But he did a good job today limiting anything they could’ve done.”
The Falcons (7-8, 5-5) didn’t have a base runner advance past second, and never seriously threatened any type of rally.
One of Salisbury’s errors led to the lone run scored after that first inning.
In the bottom of the third, Stanley led off with an infield single, and that was followed up by a walk to Haas. Vogwill then came up to the plate to sacrifice the runners over, but his bunt was fielded and thrown into right field. Stanley scored on the throwing error for a 4-0 advantage.
Fager cruised along from there giving up just one hit over the next three innings. Haas came in for relief at the start of the seventh, and shut down the Falcons who had runners at first and second with one out.
The Tigers have one more game during the regular season, a home tilt against Catasauqua on Wednesday before entering league and district playoffs.
Salisbury committed six errors, four of which came in the two innings that Northwestern scored their four runs.
Zach Stanley finished the game with three hits.
After being Salisbury, Northwestern has one game remaining and can tie Southern Lehigh for the West division crown if the Falcons can beat the Spartans, and the Tigers beat Catasauqua, in the final day of the regular season Wednesday.