Chargers earn No. 5 seed in LVL
The Northern Valley Chargers (7-9) have been inconsistent to say the least over the past week. They’ve gone from an 11-1 loss to Carbon to a 13-1 win over Emmaus, only to follow up the Emmaus win with a loss in the second game of a double-header, 9-2.
A slide late in the regular season dropped the Chargers from a potential third seed down to a fifth seed, taking away the chance for a first-round home game, where the Chargers have played pretty well.
“For whatever reason, we’ve played pretty well on this field [Northwestern Lehigh High School],” said Chargers head coach Brad Rauch. “To have at least that first-round game here would help us rather than having to go to other fields. The bottom line though is that we have to play more consistent baseball.”
Against Carbon (9-7) and North Parkland (12-4), the Chargers were held to just four runs in the two road games.
The Carbon Monarchs used a nine-run fifth inning to take what was a close game and turn it into a 10-run rule loss for Northern Valley. The Monarchs didn’t exactly pound the ball in that fifth inning, but took advantage of seven walks issued by Chargers pitching and mixed in three singles to come up with the nine runs.
Colten Hagadus had two hits and scored the only run of the game for Northern Valley.
North Parkland took advantage of two Northern Valley errors to produce two unearned runs in the Buffaloes 5-3 win over the Chargers. Ryan King allowed three earned runs over six innings and didn’t walk a batter, while striking out nine in the game.
Both unearned runs came in the bottom of the sixth when the Buffaloes scored two runs to snap a 3-3 tie and then saw reliever Phil Schoch strikeout the side in the top of the seventh.
The double-header against Emmaus (5-11) was a home-and-home matchup with the opener being played in Emmaus. The Chargers scored 10 runs over the final three innings for a 13-1 win. Derek Holmes scored a run in each of the three innings, reaching on an error in the fifth and on singles in the sixth and seventh. Justin Holmes delivered a two-run, sixth-inning single, with Derek Holmes and King each driving in a run in the inning.
In the seventh, Justin Holmes drove in a run with a bases-loaded fielder’s choice and one out later, big brother Derek singled home another run to make it 10-1.
The big blow in the inning came when Eric Nothstein homered to left to make it 13-1 and invoke the 10-run rule.
Later that same day, the bats and gloves completely disappeared for the Chargers as they collected just two hits and made five errors in a 9-2 loss to the Hornets.
The errors led to seven unearned runs for Emmaus. Both of Northern Valley’s runs were also unearned as Emmaus made three errors in the game.
As the fifth seed, Northern Valley played at fourth seeded Lower Macungie (9-7) in the first round of the playoffs Wednesday. That game was played after Press deadline. The two teams split their regular season meetings, but the Mustangs have been a much better second-half team, turning a 2-6 start into a 9-7 overall record.
Northern Valley could again be matched up with Emmaus in the second round of games if the Hornets can become the first team to knock off an undefeated South Parkland team that comes into the playoffs at 14-0, and the Chargers win their first round matchup.
The LVL playoffs use a double-elimination format with the tournament champ earning the league’s only bid to the Region 2 Tournament next week in Boyertown.