Baseball falls in league semifinal
Northwestern baseball had its streak of three straight appearances in the Colonial League finals snapped with a 4-0 loss to Southern Lehigh in the semifinals.
The game started last Tuesday at Parkland High School and was finished three days later at Hamburg Area High School because of rain. Hamburg was chosen because its turf field that would provide a drier, more stable playing field than natural grass that had been soaked by rains.
At Parkland, the Tigers fell behind 4-0 before the game was halted heading to the bottom of the third inning. Northwestern coach Duran Porrino looked at the break as a blessing and thought it would give his team a chance to regroup and come out stronger when the game was completed.
“It didn’t really bother us,” said Porrino of the suspension. “Actually, I thought that it gave us time to regroup a little and calm down before things got too far out of hand. Even with moving where we were going to play, it wasn’t really a problem.”
The Spartans struck early against starter Vince Castrine and came up with two runs in the first inning before they added two more in the second. Mason Vogwill came on to pitch and would return to the mound for the resumption of the game allowing four hits and four walks while striking out seven batters.
Northwestern was hoping to play a second game on Friday with a win having put them in the finals against the winner of the Palisades and Saucon Valley game that followed their game. Palisades won 8-3 in the other semifinal game before falling to Southern Lehigh 4-1 for the league title.
Normally, scoring a bunch of runs isn’t an issue for Northwestern, but Southern Lehigh’s Andrew Lievendag kept their bats on ice and allowed just four hits and struck out seven hitters in the game.
The Tigers put runners in scoring position in three straight innings and opened up the seventh with a walk and a base-hit but couldn’t get another hit to push any runners across the plate. Rafe Perich came close to clearing the bags in the seventh when he hit a long flyball to left, but the ball was caught just in front of the fence. The ball likely would have left the park at Parkland but the larger field at Hamburg was able to hold the ball in play.
“We have to figure out how to win when we don’t score five runs,” Porrino explained. “We’ve lost games 2-1, 5-2 and we have to realize that in the playoffs you’re going to be facing good pitchers and there are going to be games where you don’t put those big numbers on the board and the trick is to still find a way to win those games.”
Northwestern continued their season in District 11 play with an opening round win over Pottsville. The Tigers are the tournament’s second-seed and moved on to play Wilson in the semifinals at Lehigh University.
“I still think we can beat good teams,” stressed Porrino. “We’ll look to prove that in districts.”