Northern Valley falls to Salisbury, 6-5
Brad Rauch has seen this story before. It’s a common theme for the Northern Valley legion baseball team to get off to a bit of a slow start in the summer.
It seemed to have been somewhat of an issue once again for Rauch and the Chargers early this season. But Northern Valley has since righted the ship.
A late comeback effort fell short against Salisbury last week in Northern Valley’s second game of the season, as the Falcons escaped with a 6-5 victory at Northwestern High School. The Chargers (3-1), however, won their next three games, including a 4-3 victory over Lower Macungie on Tuesday night.
“We’ve been in this situation before,” said Rauch, who enters his ninth season at the helm. “It’s a trend for us to start the year off with a couple of losses, but they will bounce back and get more comfortable together as a team. I think we’ll be OK.”
Due to Northwestern’s run in the state playoffs during the high school season, it’s been tough to get all of the players together at the same time over the firs couple of weeks of the Lehigh Valley Legion season. But as the players become more accustomed to one another, the results figure to follow.
“This is only our second game, and really only the second time we’ve gotten together as a team,” Rauch said. “Northwestern had its run in the state playoffs for high school, so they weren’t involved with the team. We don’t have practices. It’s pretty much the high school season ends and we go right into our season.”
Northern Valley looked a bit sluggish in the batters box early on against Salisbury. The Falcons led 2-0 after the first inning and 6-2 as the Chargers entered the bottom half of the seventh. Falcon starter Will Rodriguez allowed just two runs on four hits through 6 1/3 innings before being relieved by Tim Schware.
That’s when the Charger bats started to come alive.
After a quick strikeout, Colten Hagadus and Owen Schoch walked and advanced on a wild pitch moments later. Justin Holmes then reached safely on a Salisbury error that went through the shortstop’s legs, scoring both Hagadus and Schoch to get the Chargers within 6-4.
“We’ve gotten good pitching the past two games,” Rauch said. “I think our pitching staff is very good this year. We just have to hit the ball better. We haven’t really hit the ball. If we hit the ball better and get meshed together as a team, I think we’ll be OK.”
Daulton Lorrah grounded into a fielder’s choice that scored Holmes, getting Northern Valley within a run with two outs. Luke Eitner then ripped a ball in between the second and third base gap, however, the ball hit Lorrah on the leg for the final out.
“If that would have gone through we probably would’ve won because I was sending him,” Rauch said. “I figured we were going to extras or we are winning, and that kid has speed, so he probably would’ve beat the throw.”
Zach Silfies pitched 5 2/3 innings for Northern Valley and allowed three runs to go along with 10 strikeouts.
Holmes recorded an RBI-single in the bottom of the third inning to cut an early 3-0 deficit to 3-1. Nick Henry brought in a run on a single in the fifth inning to get the Chargers within a run before Salisbury scored three times in the top of the fifth.
Two batters hit by pitches and a walk in the seventh aided in those three runs for Salisbury.
“We had a couple of mistakes today that we have to fix,” Rauch said. “I wasn’t happy with the way the rundown went down. Luckily we didn’t give up any runs in that inning. We had a couple of pitchers hit batters. We had some walks in that one inning and that didn’t help.”
Northern Valley faces Carbon Monarchs on Saturday at Limeport Stadium as part of the LVL’s rivalry day that features five games, three of which are league games.
Lower Macungie takes on Emmaus to start things at 9 a.m. Allentown plays again Coplay at 11:30 a.m. before the Chargers face the Monarchs at 2 p.m. Salisbury takes on Doylestown of the Bucks-Mont League at 4:30 p.m. and South Parkland-North Parkland closes the event with the first pitch of the nightcap scheduled for 7 p.m.