With the Lehigh Valley Legion tournament starting Thursday, South Parkland comes in as the hottest team in the league, having won nine straight games, including victories over top teams North Parkland and Lower Macungie. The Trojans finished the regular season schedule last Thursday with a 5-4 win over Fullerton, to finish at 14-4.
North Parkland finished its run through the Lehigh Valley Legion season with a 17-1 record, its only blemish coming on a loss to rival South Parkland. The Buffaloes finished atop the LVL standings and were crowned regular season champions, guaranteeing them a spot in the Region 2 tournament, which begins July 18.
Between now and then, North Parkland will play for the LVL tournament cchampionship. Even with the guaranteed spot in the regionals, North Parkland wants to capture the league tournament title.
The Lehigh Valley and Berks-Schuylkill Legion All-Star teams battled to a 5-5 tie in 10 innings of baseball at Reading's FirstEnergy Stadium Monday night. Both teams had opportunities to win the game, but just when one team would gain an advantage, the other would come fighting back.
Tamaqua's Matt Roberts started for Schuylkill-Berks and put down Lehigh Valley in order in the top of the first and North Parkland's Nate Kern did the same against Schuylkill-Berks in the bottom of the inning.
As much as North Parkland (13-1) would have liked to go through the Lehigh Valley Legion season undefeated, its 2-0 loss to rival South Parkland might not be the worst thing in the world.
It may turn out to be one of those losses that sends a message through the dugout and helps to refocus the team at just the right time.
South Parkland sent a definite message late last week when it handed previously undefeated North Parkland a 2-0 defeat. While the Trojans picked up just three hits in the win, one of them was a two-run double from Matt Davidowitch, driving in George Hambel and Ryan Horvath.
Hambel also handled things on the mound, allowing just three hits and two walks, striking out three in the complete game shutout.
North Parkland Legion coach Terry Stoudt has coached 43 seasons and has seen a lot of baseball, so when he puts this year's team among the best that he's ever coached, that's saying something. It's hard to argue with Stoudt when his team is at a perfect 12-0 and is having no trouble battling its way through the schedule.
The Buffaloes have outscored opponents 102-26 this season and have six games left on the regular season schedule. While the offense has been impressive, it's the pitching that has Stoudt so high on this year's team.
With games already backed up due to both bad weather and players being unavailable early in the season because of Parkland High School's long run into the varsity baseball postseason, South Parkland really wanted to get Tuesday's game against Coplay in the books, despite early evening thunderstorms. The teams waited long enough and the lightning finally passed, allowing them to start play, which was a good thing since they were able to pound out an 11-1 win.
A lot of times, it's the pitching and the offense that get all the attention and Parkland has had plenty of both this season.
Sophomore Aubree Fritzinger has been impressive on the mound and players like Emma Varrato, Madi Marshall, Shauna Frank and others seem to take turns getting big hits.
Sometime, years from now, the members of the Parkland softball team will meet up and talk about their state championship win over Cumberland Valley. Memories of some of the details may fade, but as with most championships, there will be one moment that sticks pretty strong in their memories. It will be the play that is remembered as the one that gave the Trojans the championship.
Parkland finished a near perfect season last week at Penn State when it downed Cumberland Valley 4-3 to become PIAA softball champions for the fifth time in the school's history.
Sophomore Aubree Fritzinger threw a complete game and senior Madi Marshall drove in two first-inning runs to help lead the Lady Trojans, who finished the season 28-1.
Parkland started early when Taylor Knappenberger led off the bottom of the first with a bloop single and moved to second when Abby Fritzinger was hit by a pitch.