Young NP team bows out in LVL first round
It was hard to know at the time, but when North Parkland faced Carbon County in the play-in round of the Lehigh Valley Legion playoffs, the Buffaloes were facing a team putting everything together at just the right time.
Carbon battled its way through to the championship round after having won just six games during the regular season.
North Parkland, which finished the regular season with five wins, was hoping that its run would turn out much like Carbon’s did, but with a much younger team, the Buffaloes’ task was even tougher.
In the end, Carbon picked up a 4-1 win, eliminating North Parkland from the LVL playoffs.
Justin Marykwas gave up eight hits, but was able to scatter them around and only allowed more than one hit in an inning once for the Monarchs.
When he did get into some jams, his defense bailed him out with plays that ended a threat, and they were flawless in the field. That was part of the undoing for North Parkland, which committed three errors in the game.
The inability to bunch some hits was another reason why the Buffaloes struggled.
“We don’t hit,” lamented NP manager Terry Stoudt. “We just don’t hit. I wish I knew what it was. Usually my teams hit [very well]. They didn’t hit in high school and they haven’t hit now. I don’t know what it is.”
Stoudt pointed out that the Parkland varsity team lost 1-0 in districts and was then eliminated at states in a 2-1 game.
“It’s been all year,” he said. “The most runs we’ve scored in a game all year was six, and that was against Carbon.”
On the mound, Phillip Schoch started for the Buffaloes and went five innings before giving way to Carson Fracas. The two pitchers combined to hold Carbon to just five hits in the game, but the defense hurt the young pitching staff, which has three pitchers who are only 16 years old.
“Our young pitchers are going to be great,” said Stoudt. “We have three, four pitchers coming back and they’ll have all this experience coming back.”
Carbon’s run included eliminating the number-one and two seeds from the playoffs, with a 9-2 win over second-seeded Northern Valley in the single elimination round. The Monarchs also handed top-seed and regular season champion Salisbury a 10-9 loss. In between, the Monarchs downed Lower Macungie 7-6. With the exception of the win over North Parkland, all of the playoff wins came away from their home field.
Carbon was eventually eliminated by South Parkland, which beat the Monarchs 5-3, sending the Trojans into the Region 2 Legion Tournament, which begins Saturday. Salisbury will also represent the LVL in the tournament.
Even knowing that the team is very young and that brighter days are ahead for the team, Stoudt said the team was disappointed in its showing this season. Odds are that things could be different for the team a year from now when the younger players have had another season of high school ball and more time to develop their game.
“We’re very discouraged,” said Stoudt. “But we’re young — very, very young. We only lose three kids.”