Northwestern’s reputation as an excellent fastball-hitting team is widely recognized.
In fact, it’s so well known that Notre Dame bypassed starting its ace in Thursday’s Colonial League championship game.
Instead of handing the ball to league MVP and first team all-star pitcher, Steven Luke, Crusaders head coach Michael Bedics went in a different direction.
That move, along with a clutch single from cleanup hitter Ben Gormley, led to a 2-1 victory and the team’s second crown in three years.
It doesn’t get much better than that.
Northwestern’s offense scored every time it touched the ball Friday night (not counting a final drive in which it was running out the clock) as the Tigers rolled to a 49-0 Colonial League victory over Palmerton.
Most of the damage done by Josh Snyder’s club against the Blue Bombers came through the air, as the head coach made a conscious effort to get the passing game going.
Northwestern and head coach Bob Fatzinger were looking for a shutdown inning.
Pottsville, however, had other ideas.
The Crimson Tide batted around during a four-run second inning to erase the Tigers’ early advantage during last week’s District 11 Class 4A semifinal game at Blue Mountain.
The big frame, which was aided by an error and a couple walks, led the way to a 6-1 Pottsville victory and an end to Northwestern’s season.
“Yeah, we wanted a shutdown inning there, but that didn’t happen,” said Fatzinger. “And then we didn’t bounce back after that either.
Len Smith was pretty sure his team would end the season with a loss.
He was hoping, though, that loss wouldn't come so soon.
After enjoying a solid regular season and a trip to the league finals, Smith's Northwestern baseball team ran into a talented pitcher in the quarterfinal round of the District 11 Class AAA playoffs.
That hurler, Tamaqua's Brett Kosciolek, threw a one-hit shutout at the Tigers on May 20 to bring the 2015 campaign to an abrupt halt.
FOUNTAIN SPRINGS Momentum was slipping.
And so was the lead.
After having its 21-7 halftime advantage whittled to just two points midway through the fourth quarter of Friday's District 11 Class AA championship game, Northwestern knew it was in dire need of a big drive.
Fortunately for the Tigers, they got it. And because they did, the program was able to celebrate its fourth district title.
After years of trying to join the Colonial League, Lehighton has finally been invited.
The question now is, Will they?
On Wednesday, the Colonial League delivered invitations to both Lehighton and Pleasant Valley to become fulltime members of their organization.
If both schools (current members of the Mountain Valley Conference) would accept, they would join the league for the start of the 2014-15 school year.
They had a good week of practice.
It was Homecoming Night.
And they had just stopped their opponent on the game's opening drive.
All the signs seemed to favor a special night for Northwestern.
But with one play, all the positive vibes in Tiger Stadium seemed to disappear in an instant.
Notre Dame took the opening kickoff Friday night and marched to Northwestern's nine-yard line in nine plays. But the Tigers benefitted from a Crusader holding call and eventually came up with a stop on fourth down to take possession of the ball.