NP will play for LVLBL Knee-Hi championship
The cards were stacked against the North Parkland knee-hi baseball team. But despite the odds, North Parkland finds itself as one of the final two teams playing for a Lehigh Valley Little Baseball League Knee-Hi championship.
North Parkland advanced to that title game after its 6-0 shutout victory over rival South Parkland on Tuesday evening at Wehr’s Dam. It was a six-inning, scoreless effort from ace Drew Sorrentino and relief pitcher Ryan Correll closed it out in the seventh inning.
Just a few weeks ago, North Parkland stood just a game above the .500 plateau at 6-5. Now, it is two wins away from a championship after winning its ninth game in the last 10 outings. Should North Parkland defeat No. 1 seed Northwest Bethlehem Blue on Friday night, a winner-takes-all situation presents itself on Sunday night between the two teams.
Along with co-coaches Ken Mitman and Brian Wildes, the 14-15 year old North Parkland players are on the brink of bringing a championship back to their town.
“We did what we’ve been doing the last three or four weeks of the season,” Mitman said. “We played station to station baseball. We got a run in the second and a run in the third and it was 2-0.”
The offense did its part by scoring six runs against South Parkland, and Sorrentino and Correll combined to pitch one of the team’s best pitching outings all year.
“He [Sorrentino] has pretty much been our ace all year,” Mitman said. “We brought him along as the season has gone down here.
“He [Correll] is the perfect compliment to Drew. Over the years, this is what we do. We try to set up our pitching so that we can change speeds. We’ve developed Ryan this year. He’s pitched in other leagues, but we’ve developed him and built his confidence to the fact that he comes in behind Drew and believes he can get outs.”
The defense, on the other hand, continued to be the team’s staple as it has been throughout the regular season.
“Hands down it’s our defense,” Mitman said. “We have a number one starter, but no matter who is on the mound, we don’t give a ton of runs up.”
Tuesday’s victory against South Parkland was North Parkland’s second win in three games against its rival. But unlike the previous win, one in which South Parkland rallied from a 12-6 deficit to take the lead but eventually give it up, North Parkland set the tone from the get-go in Tuesday’s playoff meeting.
“I think it put us in position that it was do-or-die, and you have to keep surviving,” Mitman said. “I honestly think the boys’ motivation was to get to this game tonight, and play this team tonight and beat them.”
The offense this season has been led by Colten Peischl (26 RBIs) and Adam Piston, the team’s three and four hitters, as well as No. 5 hitter Dylan Edelman (20 RBIs).
“Those are our three and four hitters, and they’ve been really solid all year,” Mitman said. “They’ve responded in the spots they’ve been put in.”
Friday’s game is set for 5:45 p.m. It’s a chance for North Parkland to keep its season alive and build on an already successful campaign.
“We have a chance Friday now against this team because we play defense and we don’t give a lot of runs up,” Mitman said. “We’re battle tested now. These boys are digging it. They’re ready.”