Parkland Press

Tuesday, June 18, 2019
PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSONJared Kushcarczuk lays down a bunt during an early-season Parkland baseball game. PRESS PHOTO BY CHUCK HIXSONJared Kushcarczuk lays down a bunt during an early-season Parkland baseball game.

Trojans top Emmaus, 17-11

Thursday, April 11, 2019 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

“What was that?” asked Parkland baseball head coach Kurt Weber rhetorically as he walked off the field following his team’s 17-11 win over Emmaus recently.

The game was a typical game in the rivalry between the two teams, especially at Emmaus’ Church Lane Field where the two teams have seen weird things happen.

This episode in the rivalry included a combined 23 hits, nine errors, 20 walks, 18 strikeouts and three hours and 15 minutes to play. Much of what happened can be attributed to the gusty, swirling winds that dropped the temperature inning by inning.

“This field has unique games played on it,” recalled Weber. “I really don’t know what to say to describe that game. That was a bizarre baseball game.”

The first couple of innings seemed pretty routine. Emmaus pitcher Kellan Tulio was dialed in, recording three strikeouts in two innings and getting a double-play ball to cover up one of the two walks that he issued. With Emmaus up 1-0 and one out in the top of the third, Tulio lost command of his pitches and forced home a run on three walks and a hit batter, tying the game. One out later, two more walks and a wild pitch led to three Parkland runs.

After Emmaus (5-2 overall, 4-1 EPC) added a run in the bottom of the third, the winds began to blow harder and things got a little freaky in the top of the fourth inning.

Tulio, who is being watched by pro scouts and has a full scholarship to Louisville waiting for him, gave up a leadoff single to George Jenkins and one out later issued his eighth walk of the day.

Parkland’s Blake Barthol popped what would have normally been a routine infield fly to the left side of the infield and the wind directed it between three fielders for a base hit.

A couple of wild pitches, a catcher’s interference call and two errors led to four runs and ended Tulio’s day.

The Hornets canceled Parkland’s 6-2 lead with four runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth against reliever Alex Oliver. Two errors and a walk contributed to the inning, but Emmaus also bunched a base hit and back-to-back doubles.

“I hope it was the wind,” said Weber with a laugh. “I hope we’re not that bad at catching pop-ups. I think the sun was just as bad. I really don’t know what to say to describe this one.”

A balk and a passed ball led to a Parkland run in the top of the fifth. In the bottom of the inning, Emmaus again got back-to-back doubles, one of which was carried away from center fielder Joe Webber by the brisk wind. Two singles and a hit batter led to three more Emmaus runs and a 9-7 lead.

The best was yet to come.

Singles from Joe Webber and Austin Imler put runners on first and second to start the top of the sixth.

One out later, singles from Jenkins and Phil Schoch plated two runs to tie the game. A groundball out by Jeremy Piatkiewicz gave Parkland the lead at 10-9, a single by Barthol made it 11-9 and a triple to center by Matt Ervolina capped the five-run inning with the Trojans up 12-9.

Koby Staivecki came on to pitch the sixth and Emmaus cut into the Parkland lead with two runs of their own on a double by Jude Negron.

“Kellan [Tulio] wasn’t throwing strikes early on and it sort of took us out of our rhythm, but when they were throwing strikes later in the game, we were barreling up some balls, so I felt good with that,” said Weber.

Parkland (6-1, 5-1) put the game away in the top of the seventh when it put up five more runs, one scoring on a bases-loaded walk to Schoch before Barthol singled home two runs and Ervolina launched a two-run double.

Emmaus threatened in the bottom of the inning, but Staivecki worked out of a first-and-third one-out jam when Piatkiewicz was able to corral a wind-blown pop-up and Staivecki added a strikeout to finish things off.

In a weird game like this one, it certainly helps to get off the field with a win.

“You start feeling like you don’t deserve to win, but then you realize you have a chance to win, so you think let’s try to get it here,” explained Weber of his thinking during the game.

Parkland came back to pick up a 15-2 win over Pocono Mountain West (3-5, 2-4) the following day but dropped a 12-3 game to Liberty (8-0, 7-1) earlier this past week.