Trojans ‘in good shape’ for LV Legion payoffs
South Parkland is comfortably in the driver’s seat to win the Lehigh Valley Legion Baseball League championship, needing just one more win to reach the Regional 2 Tournament. The Trojans downed rival North Parkland Tuesday evening 1-0, scoring just an unearned first-inning run to get the win that puts them in the championship.
North Parkland will now play Salisbury, the tournament’s top seed, to determine which of the two teams will face South Parkland for the championship in the double-elimination tournament. Whichever team advances would need to beat the Trojans twice to win the tournament, while South Parkland would need just one win to eliminate their opponent and advance to regionals.
With all of that as a backdrop, the Trojans got even more good news with the return of pitcher Adam Smith to the team. Smith, the East Penn Conference Pitcher of the Year, was pitching for his tournament team, the PA Shockers. Smith made his final outing last week in Georgia when he faced a team from Virginia. In that outing, Smith threw five shutout innings. He topped that with seven shutout innings Tuesday night against North Parkland.
With much of his tournament team’s commitments completed, Smith figures to be primarily focused on pitching for the Trojans through the rest of the LVLBL tournament and into regionals should they advance that far.
Smith allowed just five hits and struck out four batters in the 1-0 win over North Parkland. He was comfortable to rely on the players behind him to make plays.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in these guys,” said Smith after Tuesday’s win. “At Parkland, we always emphasize pitching and defense and I know guys will make plays behind me so I don’t worry about striking out every batter. It seemed like today we got good plays every time that we needed them and that’s just how we play.”
Cullen Wadsworth doubled off Buffalo starter Phil Schoch with one out in the first inning and one out later, defense would fail North Parkland and put runners on first and third with two outs.
With Koby Stavecki at the plate, Schoch attempted a pick-off throw to first and threw wildly allowing Wadsworth to score what would turn out to be the game’s only run.
Schoch got back to work and retired Stavecki on a groundball but nobody realized that enough damage had been done to give South Parkland the game.
Smith is being recruited by several colleges including Lehigh, Millersville and West Chester. He’s moved his velocity up to the mid-80s and compliments that with solid secondary pitches.
The right-hander is looking forward to his senior season at Parkland and was his usual sharp self on Tuesday. He only gave up more than one hit in an inning once, which came in the first inning of the game.
Smith needed just 83 pitches against North Parkland and recorded 12 of the 21 outs on balls hit to infielders. Adding in his four strikeouts, Smith got just five fly ball outs, most of which came early in the game. From the fourth inning on, just one out came on a fly ball and that was the final out of the game.
“My curveball wasn’t what I wanted it to be early in the game but as the game went on it started to get better,” said Smith. “That helped me a lot because I didn’t have to just rely on my other pitches. I was able to mix my pitches better and keep hitters off balance more.”
Should the Trojans advance to regional play, having Smith on the mound will make an already good pitching staff even better. It will allow manager Tom Kahn to keep pitchers fresh and mix and match pitchers how he wants to in order to get the most out of his young arms.
“Adam’s a great kid and it’s going to be good to have him back,” said Kahn. “He’s got a good arm and when you add that to what we’ve already got, we can win a lot of games.”We have fresh arms heading into the league championship and when you combine that with our defense, we’re in pretty good shape.”