NP is top seed for LVL playoffs
North Parkland finished its run through the Lehigh Valley Legion season with a 17-1 record, its only blemish coming on a loss to rival South Parkland. The Buffaloes finished atop the LVL standings and were crowned regular season champions, guaranteeing them a spot in the Region 2 tournament, which begins July 18.
Between now and then, North Parkland will play for the LVL tournament cchampionship. Even with the guaranteed spot in the regionals, North Parkland wants to capture the league tournament title.
The regular season wrapped up with North Parkland downing Southern Lehigh 4-0 and then beating Fullerton 11-0. Heading into the league tournament, the Buffaloes have a streak of 15 innings without allowing their opponents to score a run.
"Our depth, especially on the mound, is what makes this team special," said coach Terry Stoudt.
Six different pitchers started games for North Parkland in the regular season, with both Nate Kern and Evan McAndrew leading the way with three starts each. Both were impressive on the mound, with Kern posting a regular season ERA of 1.29 and McAndrew boasting a 0.53 ERA. Brett Kosciolek finished with an ERA of 0.75 in two starts, and Rhett Jacoby finished at 1.50. As a staff, North Parkland had a 2.04 ERA.
With the double-elimination tournament beginning Thursday, teams are going to be playing a lot of games in a short amount of time, including sometimes having to play multiple games on the same day.
North Parkland's pitching depth gives it options on how to mix and match their pitchers. The fact that none of them had to throw a big number of innings during the regular season also helps give the Buffaloes a staff full of fresh arms.
"We feel pretty confident with anybody that we run out there. Anybody on this staff is capable of pitching a big game for us," said Kern.
The Buffaloes have more than just a deep pitching staff. Their team batting average was .333 during the regular season, with Justin Afflerbach leading the way with a .529 average and 12 RBIs. North Parkland scored 98 runs on the season, an average of over five runs per game.
"There aren't many teams who have the combination of offense and pitching that we can bring game after game," said Stoudt.
North Parkland opens the tournament Thursday at Orefield Middle School at 5:45 p.m. against the winner of Wednesday's Fullerton vs. Salisbury match up.