SP youth legion team holds third place at 10-3
Ed Shapiro has been coaching for decades at various levels and in different capacities. He has been a part of many baseball teams and has seen a lot of great players.
With all of that experience, he still is awed by his 2013 South Parkland Junior Legion squad for its "team-first" mentality.
"They do what you ask them to do and they do what needs to be done," Shapiro said last week. "This is one of the most coachable groups of kids I've ever had. If you show them things as a manager, they listen and they go out and execute them. They all listen and work hard."
All that listening has led to a lot of victories for the Trojans. Through Saturday South Parkland boasted a record of 10-3 and was third in the Lehigh Valley League standings.
With just four games remaining the Trojans are sitting comfortably in terms of qualifying for the league playoffs.
The top eight teams make it to the playoffs, which are double-elimination. Three teams from the Lehigh Valley League will advance to the regional tournaments.
The regular season champion, which is the team with the best record at season's end. The two teams in the tournament championship game also make it to regionals.
If one of the teams in the title match is the regular season champion then the last spot will go to the last team eliminated.
With only three blemishes on the record a lot is going right for this squad, but Shapiro cites two areas as the keys to his team's success.
"Pitching and defense has really carried us this season so far," he said. "We also have had very good timely hitting, but our pitching has been incredible. Harrison Rabenold and Cole Matrishin have really been great.
Those are actually the two players who will be representing us in the all-star game. Also, Tommy Sather is another arm on the mound. Those three guys have been steady all the way through the season."
The numbers emphatically back up Shapiro's statements about his staff. The team has a 2.51 ERA and Rabenold has 22 strikeouts in 24 and 2/3 innings of work. He also has a stunning 0.85 ERA.
The Trojans certainly hold their own at the plate. Matrishin contributes with the bat as his .487 batting average leads the league. The team is hitting .341 collectivelyand has a .459 on base percentage.
Tyler Bruno, the leadoff hitter, and Ryan Horvath, who bats cleanup, are two very consistent hitters for South Parkland. They both do it all at the plate. Bruno, a middle infielder, was described by Shapiro as "One of the best defensive players I've ever coached."
This group of young diamond dwellers is focused on finishing out the regular season strong.
It hopes to follow that up with an even stronger showing in the league tournament and defeat the league's elite like Freemansburg and Quakertown on their road to regionals.