PHS baseball positions for playoffs
There is no denying that the Parkland baseball team is in a tough division.
The Lehigh Valley Conference North has three of the four teams vying for the top spot in the division and it's getting to the time of year when one of those teams needs to show they're better than the rest.
The Trojans (7-2, 11-4) currently stand a half game behind Whitehall (8-2, 12-2) in the division and are a game and a half ahead of Northampton (6-4, 9-6).
Parkland, which already has victories over Whitehall and Northampton this season, has games against both division rivals remaining on the schedule. Should the Trojans not win the division, they currently lead the wild card race by one game over Liberty (7-4, 10-5), who also fell victim to Parkland earlier in the season.
The only team that would hold a wild card edge over Parkland in a tie would be Freedom, who handed the Trojans a loss early in the season.
"We have been relying on our pitching all season," said Parkland coach Tony Galucy. "Gabe Mosser has to get healthy and other pitchers, like Alex Flynn, Connor Higgins, Rhett Jacoby and Evan McAndrew have to continue to throw well."
Mosser, a definite team leader, is hampered by an upper back injury and is hoping to return to the lineup either late this week or next week for the Trojans. Having Mosser healthy and ready to go for the final stretch of regular season games would be a big bonus for Parkland.
"Gabe is able to locate his pitches and not walk batters. He can throw three pitches for strikes," said Galucy. "What's making him more effective is the velocity on his fastball has improved."
Higgins recently engineered a 4-0 shutout win over Pleasant Valley, while Flynn had a rare tough start against Allen in a game that the Trojans won 8-7.
The good news is that Parkland isn't a team that has to rely on just one or two starters and that has made them tough to beat and will help them battle through a schedule that is likely to have a number of games in a row thanks to bad weather wiping out some games.
"Connor and Alex have done a great job. Rhett Jacoby and Evan McAndrew have been throwing for us, too, and Chris Rabasco can throw for us as well," said Galucy.
Coming into the season, Galucy figured to need pitching, but didn't realize just how important it would be.
Parkland had figured on having a more potent offense than they have shown, which has surprised Galucy.
Much of the offensive output has come via mistakes by the other team that Parkland found ways of exploiting even when not hitting the ball as well as they would have liked.
Parkland recently endured a three-game losing skid, losing two of those games by just one run. Sometimes though, a skid like that serves to wake up a strong team and the Trojans rebounded with two wins since the skid and seem to have gotten themselves righted.
"We always lean on the seniors at this time of year," Galucy said. "Many of them have struggled this year. Whether they are putting too much pressure on themselves or are just struggling, we will need them to step up if we are going to advance in the playoffs. We talked to the seniors about it and I expect them to pick things up."
Parkland has games against Central Catholic (3-7, 4-10) and Nazareth (2-8, 5-10), but then goes into a streak of three tough, key games to finish out the regular season. Those games include trips to Whitehall and Emmaus (8-1, 13-1) and a season finale at home against Northampton (6-4, 9-6).