Baseball reaches district title game
The Parkland baseball team already has one title under its belt this season. With Tuesday’s 10-3 win over Pocono Mountain East, the Trojans earned the right to play for two more.
The win put them in Wednesday’s district title game against Liberty and earned them a spot in next week’s state playoff tournament.
Parkland got another great pitching performance from Mike Jenkins and its offense exploded for 11 hits off Pocono Mountain East starter Zach McCambley.
“That’s one of the best pitchers in the league, a kid that’s going to a big-time college and might even get drafted this year,” said Parkland head coach Kurt Weber. “This was one of our better hitting performances. We didn’t help him out. We stayed off his high fastball, which was the key for us. Some balls found their way in, but a lot of balls were hit hard and we made him work.”
Will Algard led the Parkland offense, going 3-for-4 and reaching base in all four at bats. Weber said the junior designated hitter has been hitting the ball well as of late.
“I’m just going about my business and things have been working out for me,” said Algard. “I’m trying to be aggressive, trying to go after strikes early in the count. Try to hit fastballs.”
Algard drove in Parkland’s first run of the game when he doubled to left field to bring in pinch runner Jeremy Piatkewicz in the second inning.
The Cardinals went ahead 2-1 in the top of the third on a walk, a hit batter and two singles.
The No. 1 seed Trojans (18-7) responded with a run in the bottom of the inning when Jenkins drove in Matt Mellinger with a sacrifice fly. They put the game nearly out of reach with a seven-run fourth inning.
Algard led off the fourth inning with a single and scored on Christian Kinsley’s bases-loaded single. Algard came up later in the inning and singled with the based loaded to make it 7-2.
Ethan Imler (2-for-2, 3 RBI) capped the fourth inning with a two-run single that put Parkland ahead 9-2 and chased the Coastal Carolina University-bound McCambley from the game.
The No. 5 seed Cardinals (16-6) added a run in the fifth inning and threatened with base runners in both of the final two innings. But Jenkins got out of each inning with minimal damage before having to exit the game with two outs in the sixth inning after throwing exactly 100 pitches.
Jenkins entered the final inning at 88 pitches, meaning he had 12 left before the 100-pitch rule.
“We were just hoping he would get us far enough in that inning that we wouldn’t have to use Gio [Ryan Giovenco] or Harsha [Bollu],” said Weber. “They’re going to be slotted for tomorrow’s game so we were hoping to save him. And he did exactly what we needed him to do.”
Jenkins gave up five hits in the game, while striking out five Pocono Mountain East batters.
“Mike’s the heart and soul of our team,” said Algard. “Mike can single-handedly beat teams as long as we put offense behind him.”
Parkland had four players with two hits or more in the game, including Algard, Imler, Kinsley (2-for-3) and Mellinger (2-for-4, two runs).
The district title game was played Wednesday, after Press deadlines. See next week’s issue for coverage.