No. Parkland youth legion is getting used to wood bats
There have been a few changes in Pennsylvania American Legion baseball. One being the name change from Junior Legion to Youth Legion and the second one has a little more influence on the diamond.
Back in 2011 the Keystone state's regional directors voted to change from aluminum to wood bats effective for the 2013 season.
Now teams have been spending the early part of their season adapting to the equipment change while still trying to win baseball games. North Parkland Junior Legion head coach, Jason Marakovits, admitted there was a learning curve.
"The players are finally getting a little more comfortable with the wooden bats," he said. "It took a little while in the beginning of the season [to get used to them], but I think they are figuring it out. They are a little more comfortable at the plate now than they were at the beginning of the year.
Not only did the Buffaloes adjust to the lumber, but they also were notching victories. Through Saturday they possessed a 9-4 record which puts them in a tie for fourth place with Forks in what is a very tight race in the 18 team Lehigh Valley League.
The end of the regular season is just days away. The last game is on July 9 with the playoffs starting three days later. There are several teams vying for the eight spots in the double-elimination style postseason. Freemansburg, Hellertown, Quakertown and South Parkland were all within just a few games of each other in the standings heading into this week.
All of the contenders are playing for a spot in the league playoffs in hopes of qualifying for the regional tournaments. This season the Lehigh Valley League will send three teams to regionals. The regular season champion, the team with the best record at season's end, automatically qualifies.
Then the two teams that make the championship game qualify as well. If one of the final two teams is the regular season champ, it will go to the last team that was eliminated from the playoffs.
Marakovits said last week that he has a message for his team to prepare them for a playoff push.
"We have been together for a while having tryouts and practices since the beginning of March," he said. "This is why they want to play, for this time of season, so they can make the playoffs. This is what all that work we've done for months has been for. We will be talking about putting it all out on the field and playing together to see what we can do as a team."
According to Marakovits he has a group of players that can step up at different times and deliver when called upon. However, Tanner Stufflet, Issac Neal, Kyle Fribolin and Tanner Vitovitch have been big positives for the squad. All four of these players are pitchers for North Parkland. North Parkland Junior Legion. Marakovtis named Stufflet as the team's "best player."
The Buffaloes are one of the younger squads in the league. Despite their age they have managed to push 91 runs across the plate this season in an effort to get into the playoffs.
With some crucial games down the stretch, this squad is gearing up for the long haul which it hopes includes a final destination at the regional tournament.