Buffaloes closing in on league title
Brett Kosciolek led the charge for North Parkland both from the mound and in the batters box as the Buffaloes defeated Salisbury 14-0 in six innings last Sunday afternoon at Salisbury High School.
The win was the fifth straight for North Parkland since a 4-1 loss to Southern Lehigh, the team that trails them in the standings by a half of a game heading into this week.
With one remaining game in the regular season on Tuesday, the Buffaloes can just take care of business by winning and get a chance to defeat Southern Lehigh in a one-game playoff for the regular season title, as long as the Spartans win their last two contests.
North Parkland (14-3) raked twelve hits and had no problem scoring runs on Sunday.
In the top of the second, two straight singles by Justin Afflerbach and Walter Roland put runners at first and second with no one out. Two batters later, Gabe Mosser singled and Afflerbach scored from second. After a walk to Vasilik to load the bases, Boo Weaver hit a sacrifice fly to left field that brought home Roland for an early 2-0 lead.
The Buffaloes added a run in the third on a Kosciolek RBI single. He never faced any trouble on the mound, cruising through six innings of four-hit ball. The Falcons didn't record their first hit until the bottom of the fourth inning.
"I mostly threw fastballs and a couple of change-ups," Kosciolek said. "I had a couple of curveballs going too, but it seemed my fastball was working well today."
It was a good thing Kosciolek threw mostly fastballs because Salisbury seemed unable to catch up to them. He struck out seven Falcons.
In the fifth, a bunt single by Nick Helfrich and then a walk to Zach Merkle brought up Kosciolek. He ripped an 0-1 fastball over the left field fence for a three-run home run. The pitch before, he tried to lay down a bunt to advance the runners over, but fouled it off. Assistant coach Matt Merkle made a wise move by taking off the bunt call.
"I was just trying to move the runners over and then the next pitch he (Merkle) gave me the slash sign so I faked to bunt and pulled it back to swing," said Kosciolek.
North Parkland put the game away in the top of the sixth, batting around and scoring eight runs. Each batter that came up in the inning reached base. Kevin Jones, Merkle, Kosciolek, Roland, and Mosser all had RBIs in the inning.
After a grueling season of playing nearly every day, it comes down to one or two more games for the regular season.
"We're just hoping to win our last game and Southern Lehigh will lose one of theirs," added Kosciolek. "We want to be the [regular] season champs. We control our own destiny. If we win, we'll be in the championship game."
If North Parkland finishes as regular season champs, they will automatically receive a berth into the Regional tournament.