Parkland Press

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PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSON North Parkland celebrates its Lehigh Valley Legion Tournament title. PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSON North Parkland celebrates its Lehigh Valley Legion Tournament title.

NP beats Falcons, sweeps LVL titles

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

The North Parkland Buffaloes played an ugly looking game. They looked beat up, dirty and ragged after their Lehigh Valley Legion Championship game with Salisbury. One can only imagine what they would have looked like if they had lost. The Buffaloes came up with two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to grab a 6-5 win over Salisbury and sweep their way through the tournament.

They committed six errors that led to all five of Salisbury's runs. North Parkland had to fight its way through the game to grab a hard-fought victory. With the gritty fashion of ball that North Parkland had to play to get the win, most of the players were caked in dirt almost from head-to-toe, showing that there was no lack of effort on anybody's part.

Salisbury starter Brad Vangeli held North Parkland hitless through the first two innings as his teammates staked him to a 2-0 lead with two first-inning runs off Parkland starter Tyler Duff.

In the third, North Parkland opened the inning with back-to-back singles from Aiden Flynn and Brandon Evans. THe Buffaloes used a couple of wild pitches, a stolen base by Evans, an RBI on a sacrifice fly by Boo Weaver and a ground-out from Justin Afflerbach to tie the game at 2-2 after three innings.

Two throwing errors in the top of the fourth led to two more unearned runs for Salisbury, who also collected an unearned run in the top of the seventh to take a short-lived 5-4 lead over North Parkland.

When all was said and done, Flynn had three singles and a walk while scoring two runs and driving in one. Evans finished with two singles and a run scored. Brett Kosciolek chipped in with two singles and an RBI double, which came in the bottom of the seventh.

"Duff threw a great game and we didn't help him a lot with our defense," said North Parkland manager Terry Stoudt. "But we put together some offense."

The Buffaloes also won the regular season title and will head to this weekend's PA Legion Regional 2 Tournament in Boyertown as the top team out of the Lehigh Valley. Salisbury will go as the number two team.

Pitching was the key for the Buffaloes this season. On Saturday, Gabe Mosser threw a complete game in a 5-1 win over Salisbury in a preliminary round game and Duff threw a complete game in the championship, giving North Parkland four straight wins over Salisbury. Mosser and Duff pulled off their big outings on two of the hottest days of the season.

"It was probably the hottest day of the year, I think, but it kind of helps because it keeps my arm up and I kind of feel like I haven't even pitched yet," said Duff as he wiped sweat from his face.

While Duff didn't get a lot of help from his defense, he never lost faith that his team would be able to pull out a win. "They helped me a lot during the year and I knew that if I just kept fighting, our offense would pull us through."

Mosser had much better defense behind him in his start. He believes the team is set up well for another appearance in regionals.

"I think with our pitching and everything that we can do, we've got a good shot in regionals. We should be able to go pretty deep and who knows, maybe we can win it all," said Mosser after his start.

Regionals are an eight-team, double elimination tournament beginning Saturday in Boyertown and concluding Wednesday, July 24. North Parkland opens the event against Oley/Topton, the Schuylkill-Berks League champ.

The winner advances to the PA Legion state tournament, July 30-August 3 at Boyertown. The host Bears get an automatic berth to states. The winner of the Region 2 Tournament also advances to the eight-team state tournament.