South Parkland Legion continues to overcome
If not for one very questionable call, South Parkland may have worked their way through the Region 2 Tournament without a loss. Instead, the call helped give Souderton a 6-5 win over the Trojans in 11 innings, sending them to the loser’s bracket in the double-elimination tournament.
In the end, it didn’t really seem to matter to South Parkland as they got right back on track in their next game and didn’t seem to let anything bother them. Extra innings? No problem. Having to come from behind? No problem.
“We had been down quite a few times in the Region 2 Tournament and it didn’t bother us,” explained Mike Jenkins, who has helped the club both on the mound and at the plate. “Because we just play to the end and now we’re in the nine inning games, so we never panic.”
After the loss to Souderton, South Parkland picked up a 1-0 win over Muhlenberg and followed that up with another extra inning win, beating previously undefeated West Lawn 6-4 in 11 innings. The offense took over in a 13-7 win over Norchester, sending the Trojans into a rematch with West Lawn for the regional championship.
Jenkins was the star in the 1-0 win over Muhlenberg, striking out nine and giving up just two hits and one walk in the process. Coming from a Parkland High School team that had plenty of pitching, things aren’t much different for Jenkins with the Legion team. The high school season also gave many of the South Parkland players the experience of playing in tough games and being prepared to play extra innings, so nobody panicked when things got tough.
“I wouldn’t say it’s easier, but we know how to deal with it better,” said Jenkins of the pressure of the postseason. “There’s a lot of pressure in the late innings and extra innings, and we know all about the extra-inning games, because we had a lot of those with Parkland and now we get them in Legion and we know that we’ve been here before, so it helps.
“We just had that confidence and we knew that we could have won the game that we lost, but there was a pretty questionable call that we lost on. We knew we could compete with all of the teams that were left and we just stayed confident.”
Jenkins said that the team just goes out on the field with tons of confidence, never knowing who is going to be the one to come through for the team on a particular night. Whether it’s a 1-0 win or a 13-7 battle, the Trojans have the confidence that they can handle whatever their opponent throws at them.
The championship in regionals sends South Parkland to the state tournament, which will be played this week in Ephrata. Like regionals, the state tournament is a double-elimination tournament, with the winner being crowned on Saturday. Should South Parkland win there, the Mid-Atlantic Tournament would be up next on the agenda.
“We don’t ever get too confident. We’re just putting out our best effort and we’re not going to back down to any teams,” said Jenkins. “Our offense is generally pretty good, but it’s baseball and we have our off days. What’s really nice about it is that everyone is contributing and we have good hitters up and down the lineup.”