Young Buffs getting healthy for playoffs
The last week has been a difficult one for North Parkland’s Legion team. The Buffaloes were swept over the weekend by Coplay, falling by 4-3 and 18-1 scores. On Tuesday, North Parkland dropped a game to rival South Parkland 13-1 in five innings.
The Buffaloes got off to a good start against South Parkland when Carson Fracas and Alex Brosius delivered back-to-back one out doubles, with Brosius driving home Fracas with the go-ahead run, making it 1-0. There was no way of telling that from that strong start North Parkland would go on to struggle for hits through the rest of the game.
After Brosius collected his double, Trojans starter Nate Leaswitch retired nine straight batters before Will Algard snapped the streak when he laced a single to left-center field. Unfortunately for North Parkland, Leaswitch again found his rhythm and set down the next five batters to finish off the game, which was shortened by the league’s mercy rule.
South Parkland got to starter Alex Oliver in the third inning, scoring eight runs against Oliver and another off reliever Dylan Snyder. In the inning, Oliver surrendered three doubles, but the real problem was command as he walked five batters and had three wild pitches.
“We’re a very young team, and our pitchers are all 16-year olds,” said Buffalo headd coach Terry Stoudt. “The kid thought he lost velocity, but he didn’t, he lost location and I think he gave up a little bit. It’s tough, because he wants to beat his buddies, but he’ll bounce back. He’ll pitch well for us.”
The North Parkland team isn’t at full strength and is expecting to add a couple players to the roster this week that should help as it heads into the final weekend of the regular season. The Lehigh Valley Legion League adjusted its playoff system this season because the Coplay team had a late start to the season after Whitehall High School went to the state championship game. Because the postponements led to teams having their schedules backed up with make-up games, the league decided to allow all 10 teams into the postseason. Without that, North Parkland would be fighting to make the playoffs, but with the automatic berth and the addition of players, Stoudt is hopeful for the future.
“I think we’ll be OK once we add a couple of guys, and with our young pitchers getting more experience, we have to wait and see what happens,” said Stoudt.
Having a team full of younger players has made for a difficult season at times. North Parkland is 4-10-1 on the year, but Stoudt has enjoyed watching the younger players learn the game and become better players. Throughout the season he’s found that the young players have picked themselves up from mistakes and have made progress.
“The younger kids are all getting better,” he said. “Our kid didn’t hang in tonight, but that happens, and like I said, he’ll pitch better for us next time.”
Tonight, the Buffaloes host Salisbury (12-1) before playing on the road Saturday at Lower Macungie (5-9) and Sunday at West Allentown (6-8). The playoffs begin next Wednesday.