Trojans sweep season series with Emmaus
After a lopsided loss to Parkland the first time the teams met this season, the Emmaus baseball team looked forward to Monday’s meeting against Parkland. The Hornets surely remembered the 14-run shelling the Trojans put up in one inning the first time around.
Monday’s game went right down to the wire. And in dramatic fashion, a 4-3 Trojan win that was far different than the 17-1 drubbing a few weeks ago.
Contrary to the previous time Parkland and Emmaus teams tangled, Parkland had to find answers on two different occasions, and it had to get a gut-check with Emmaus in its last at-bats and having the bases filled down by a run.
The way the Hornets were playing, all they needed was a big hit in the top of the seventh and it looked like someone was on the verge of delivering. With only one out Parkland watched the visitors load the bases and Emmaus had its top of the order champing at the bit.
But relief pitcher Koby Staivecki wasn’t giving in and neither was his defense. Staivecki got Adam LeMaster to hit a sharp grounder to third baseman Jared Kurcharczuk, who fired home to rub out a would-be tying run. Staivecki capped his save by getting a strikeout to end this nerve-wracking East Penn Conference game.
The win was huge for the Trojans as they take control of the Skyline Division, going to 8-1 in league play. The Green Hornets fall for the second time to their rivals and now are 6-2 in the conference and 9-2 overall.
“That first [game] was a fluke,” said winning manager Kurt Weber about the way his team rattled off the run production en route to the rout. “No way were we even considering it would be that way again.”
Not the way Emmaus’ stud southpaw pitcher Kellan Tulio went after the Parkland batters. Tulio used a sharp, hooking curve ball that produced 11 strikeouts, four hits, four runs, with only one earned.
“He was very, very tough on our hitters,” said Weber. “He had us off balance the whole ball game. We knew the (curve) was coming, and we still couldn’t get a good barrel on it. He was tough, very tough.”
The Green Hornets came up big early when they scored a pair of unearned runs off of starting and winning pitcher AJ Palumbo. The Hornets got just one hit in the top of the second, that being a single from LeMaster. Two errors and two outs later, Emmaus sprung on top 2-0.
Parkland was stymied until the third inning, cracking the shutout with a pair of tainted runs on just one hit, a double from Cullan Wadswroth. Then in the fourth it rallied it thanks to Will Algard, who doubled to right and rode home on a single by hot hitting Jeremy Piatkiewicz, who led Parkland with two hits.
In the fifth innning, the Trojans broke a 3-3 tie without the benefit of a hit. The rally started with two outs on a hit batter, a walk, a steal of third by Wadsworth and an error for the game -winning running.
“Our pitchers were great tonight,” said a dejected Emmaus skipper Mike Mihalick. “Kellan, Robert (Church) was great in relief. We just didn’t make the plays. It came down to the team that made the least mistakes was going to win. And they made the least.”
Earned runs were tough to come by. Both sides had only one earned run.
Good pitching usually shuts down good hitting and it showed Monday. Both teams combined for 10 hits, six by Parkland.
The Trojans made three very big defensive plays in the sixth. With a runner at second for the Hornets, a pop foul along the third baseline was gloved by Kurcharczuk nearly falling as he made the play. A batter later, left fielder Webber came racing to the line in foul territory and somehow made a great catch. Palumbo came up big when he fielded a slow roller to his left and made superb play ending the inning and wrenching his back.