SP earns top seed for LVL playoffs
After making it through the regular season undefeated, South Parkland (15-0) comes into the Lehigh Valley Legion playoffs as the favorite, holding the top-seed. The Trojans take on Emmaus (5-11) in a first-round game and with a win would face either Lower Macungie or Northern Valley in the second-round game.
South Parkland was awarded a win in a suspended game against Emmaus, which was unable to be played. Initially, the game was going to be made up this week, but because the all-star game against the Schuylkill-Berks League was postponed to Tuesday night, there was no time to make-up the game. South Parkland led 5-0 in the top of the fifth when the game was suspended. A.J. Palumbo allowed no hits and no runs through four innings, walking just one batter in the game. Koby Staivecki had two hits and an RBI and Joseph Webber doubled and had two RBI and a run scored for South Parkland.
Not counting the win over Emmaus, South Parkland outscored opponents 13-1 in three games over the final week of the season. In those three games, Matt Ervolina drove in five runs and hit .800 (4-for-5). Staivecki and Adam Smith each threw five shutout innings and Josh Miller struck out 10 batters in seven innings.
A key to the season has been South Parkland’s deep pitching that allowed the Trojans to keep fresh arms on the mound and they created enough offense to give pitchers a cushion in most of the games. In their 15 wins, five of them were by three runs or less, including two one-run wins in the first week of the season.
South Parkland finished the regular season with the top two pitchers in the league based on ERA. Palumbo didn’t allow an earned run in four outings, covering 17 2/3 innings of work and Miller gave up just two earned runs in 21 1/3 innings this season, finishing second to Palumbo in the league with a 0.66 ERA. Palumbo also edged Miller for first place in the LVL in WHIP with a 0.74 mark compared to a 0.75 mark for Miller.
“We can run a lot of guys out there and they’re all good,” said Trojan head coach Tom Kahn recently. “That’s a luxury that a lot of teams have, especially in that we’ve been able to mix-and-match guys and not have to overthrow anybody and that’s going to be a key in the postseason.”
At the plate, Staivecki hit .400 in 12 games this season for the Trojans to lead the team among players who played in at least half of the games for South Parkland. Jack Giovenco hit .348 this season, playing in 11 games. Alex Oliver led the team in RBIs with 13 and Matt Ervolina, who played in just five games this season, used his big finish to end the year with 11 RBIs, just ahead of Webber’s 10 RBIs season. Webber led the team with 13 runs scored.
Kahn and his players have made it clear that they are going for a state championship and aren’t going to be satisfied with anything short of that.
“We know that we have a good team and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t shoot for a state championship,” said Kahn. “What I like about our players is that they realize that they have to put in the work. Nobody is going to hand us anything this season and we know that. I’m proud of the way these guys have worked and the focus that they have.”