SP wins nine straight games
With the Lehigh Valley Legion tournament starting Thursday, South Parkland comes in as the hottest team in the league, having won nine straight games, including victories over top teams North Parkland and Lower Macungie. The Trojans finished the regular season schedule last Thursday with a 5-4 win over Fullerton, to finish at 14-4.
The long win streak took a team that was in the middle of the pack at the halfway point and moved it to the number two spot for the league tournament and an opening round matchup with Northern Valley, which beat Salisbury Tuesday night to earn the seventh seed in the tournament. In the regular season, South Parkland downed Northern Valley 7-1 and 8-3.
There really isn't any one thing that stands out as a turning point for South Parkland this season. Instead, it just looks like it was a team that came together and started to play better baseball.
"We just all started to hit and the pitching got better and everything started to come together," said Harrison Rabenold, who missed part of the season with an injury.
Coach Tom Kahn used 12 different pitchers this season, with just three of them making multiple starts. The result is a staff that hasn't been over used and is deep with guys ready to start or come into key positions and provide relief for the team. At one point, South Parkland went 25 innings without allowing a run this season.
"Some of these kids pitched on the high school team and we had a couple guys banged up a little, so we didn't want to overload anybody," said Kahn. "We took the approach of using a lot of guys to get them into situations where they could succeed and give them some confidence for this part of the season."
The staff finished with an ERA of 2.94 and the offense finished with a .325 average and 92 runs scored on the season. Plus, South Parkland showed some strong defensive skills that kept it from giving away too many outs.
"I think we have every right to feel confident coming into the postseason," said Kahn. "We've shown what we can do, we have depth and we're coming in as a hot team with a lot of confidence. These guys pulled themselves together in the middle of the season and put us in a good spot."
The postseason begins tonight at 5:45 when South Parkland hosts Northern Valley at Parkland High School Thursday at 5:45 p.m. to open the league's postseason tournament. The winner of the tournament gets a spot in the Region 2 playoffs.
As regular season champion, North Parkland has an automatic spot in regionals and should the Buffaloes win the league tournament, the postseason runner-up will get the second spot from the LVL in regionals.