Parkland Press

Friday, July 20, 2018

NP legion gets the big week it needed

Thursday, June 28, 2018 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

North Parkland was in need of a big week and the Buffaloes got just what they needed. The week included a 10-run win over West Allentown, a doubleheader sweep of Northern Valley and a 15-0 blasting of Southern Lehigh. The four wins moved the Buffaloes to 9-6 on the season, currently putting them in the postseason as the fourth seed in the Lehigh Valley Legion playoffs.

In the sweep of Northern Valley, Parkland won the opener 12-2 in a game shortened to five innings by the 10-run rule. Dylan Miller doubled and homered in the opener, scoring two runs. Alex Toro was on base three times and scored each time, while Collin Duff and John Barto both scored twice.

In the nightcap, Northern Valley took a 5-0 lead when it scored three times in the top of the fourth. Trevor Schreiner homered to lead off the inning and at one point, six straight hitters reached base for the Chargers.

Instead of being able to shut down the Buffaloes, Northern Valley surrendered five runs in the bottom of the inning that tied the game 5-5. North Parkland played some small ball with the first six hitters reaching on singles with Jared Kucharczuk singling in a run. Back-to-back sacrifice flies by Austin Imler and Miller. The Buffs also used a wild pitch and a passed ball to advance their inning.

Duff, who threw a complete game to get the win in the opener, homered to left-center in the fifth to make it 7-5 North Parkland and a double by Miller followed by a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly from Andrew Brosius stretched the lead to 8-5 in the bottom of the sixth.

“From the beginning of the order to the end we have so much power potential and we can generate a lot of runs,” said Duff.

Northern Valley wasn’t able to generate offense in the fifth and sixth but a leadoff single from Derek Holmes in the seventh followed by a triple from Domonic Miller and a wild pitch made it 8-7. The Chargers bats suddenly went cold and they weren’t able to get the tying run on base in the inning.

With the final week of the regular season upon us, Duff believes that the team is saving their best baseball for when it matters most.

“We went through a little rough patch and didn’t win too many games for a little while but now, we’re really working well together,” said Duff, who will head to Boston College to study pre-med in the fall. “Playoffs are coming up and we want to get some momentum going into the playoffs and this sweep helps us do that.”

The Buffaloes will be represented by four players on the Lehigh Valley Legion All-Star team. Duff was the lone pitcher to make the team and will be accompanied by Barto, Brosious and Will Algard when they face the all-stars from the Berks/Schuylkill League July 9 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading.