NV makes most of short season
It always seems that when one is tired, things go wrong. That was the case for Northern Valley late this season, and in particular against regular season champion Salisbury last Friday.
The Chargers played 17 games in a 14-day span and were simply worn out. It showed as they committed six errors and seemed a little rough around the edges against the Falcons.
The six errors led to four unearned runs that helped Salisbury to an 8-3 win.
“It’s tough when you’re worn out and then you have to play one of the best teams in the league,” said Chargers coach Brad Rauch after the loss. “I don’t fault our guys at all. Our coaching staff is worn out and the players are the ones running around in the heat and doing the heavy lifting, so I know they’re worn out.”
Tyler Wiik had two singles and a walk in the game and Jacob Haas singled and was hit by a pitch. Pitcher Justin Welch also reached base twice, being hit by a pitch in the first inning and then walking in the fifth. He came around to score in both instances.
Welch pitched five innings, allowing eight hits and two walks while striking out five. Josh LaRock came on to pitch the sixth without allowing any damage.
“I can’t say enough about how these players have grinded for us,” said Racuh. “They’re great kids and give everything they have and the parents have really been great,” said Rauch. “Without the type of kids we have and the support of the parents and the coaching staff that I have, we would have just been buried and we’re not. That shows the dedication of those people.”
Now is when it gets interesting.
The Chargers have a four-day break before playoffs start on Friday. That breather could make Northern Valley a tough draw in the playoffs. Finishing the season at 9-9 and picking up the sixth seed in the double-elimination tournament, a well-rested team is going to come out to play starting Friday.
“I think this is likely the best hitting team we’ve ever had,” emphasized Rauch. “Even when they were worn out they were able to put runs on the board, so I’m really interested to see how they respond with a little rest.”
In the first round, Northern Valley will play at North Parkland Friday at 6 p.m. at Orefield Middle School. The Buffaloes took both ends of a doubleheader against Northern Valley late in the season. In those games though, the Chargers were playing with just nine players and no rest. For Friday’s game they’ll have a full, or at least nearly full, roster of players and some rest under their belts.
“I have no problem putting these kids up against anybody,” Rauch saidd. “I honestly believe, and this isn’t just talk, that if we didn’t have the difficult schedule that we had because of Northwestern’s run in states, we would have been battling for the regular season championship. I honestly believe that.”