Terry Stoudt doesn’t like to lose any games, so losing Saturday’s 7-6 decision to Emmaus wasn’t on his list of things to do over the weekend. In the grand scheme of things, it turned out that it didn’t change the postseason plans for the North Parkland Buffaloes. The Buffs will go into the Lehigh Valley Legion Baseball League playoffs as the number-three seed, exactly where they would have been even with a win over Emmaus.
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.
South Parkland faced previously unbeaten Salisbury at Parkland High School last week. None of Salisbury’s previous opponents had much fun playing the Falcons. However, for Trojan pitcher A.J. Palumbo, it was a lot of fun. He was locked in against Salisbury and kept hitters way off balance throughout the game. The end result was a 2-1 win for South Parkland.
The key was a breaking ball that he was throwing for strikes whenever he wanted to. Match that with a strong fastball and Falcons hitters were left to only guess what was coming.
After two tough regular season games against Nazareth, the Parkland softball team wanted another shot at the Blue Eagles.
The Trojans had hoped it would come in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference championship, but when that opportunity didn’t present itself, they looked ahead to districts. The two teams would need to reach the finals of district play for the rematch to happen and everything played out perfectly to get the two teams on the field to play for district gold.
In general, a softball team relies on the middle part of its lineup to produce the big hits. The hitters at the top of the order get on base to set the table for the bigger bats in the lineup to drive them in. Whatever you get out of the bottom portion of the order often determines how successful a team will be offensively.
For Parkland, the bottom of the lineup has played a crucial role in postseason success.
Looking to make their fifth straight appearance in the District 11 championship game, Parkland wasn’t about to let a late comeback from Easton get in its way. After the Lady Rovers tied the game in sixth, Parkland plated two runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 4-2 win and face Nazareth for their fourth district crown in the last five years.
Parkland admittedly got a little help from a porous Liberty defense in the District 11 semifinal, but the Trojans took advantage of every little thing that the Hurricanes gave them on their way to a 7-5 win and a spot in the District 11 championship. The semifinal win also reserves a spot for Parkland in the PIAA tournament, which begins next week.
Liberty, the defending District 11 Class 6A champions, committed four errors in the game, three of them by shortstop Marcus Nales, and Parkland used each of the errors to add to its run tally.
The Parkland softball team can beat teams in many ways. In the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semifinal, the Trojans took a 1-0 win over Easton in a pitcher’s duel. When it came time to play for their fifth straight conference championship, though, they put their bats to work and made quick work of Liberty in an 11-0 win.
“I was just so happy for them because we’ve been struggling with the bats here of late,” said Parkland head coach Barry Search. “They just came out and hit the ball and did a fantastic job.”
Parkland High School recently celebrated six student athletes who have made their college choice and received financial assistance to attend various schools. This group of students will have majors ranging from the medical profession to business, engineering and education.
After putting up a 17-run outburst against Emmaus, the Parkland offense has continued to swing the bats better than expected this season. They put up six runs in a win over Northampton and then scored 13 against North Penn in a wild 13-12 non-conference win.
Those 12 runs combined with eight given up to Liberty the game before seemingly had the pitching staff on the ropes.
On Tuesday, Adam Smith delivered a big blow in the form of a no-hitter, that will likely reset the pitching staff, which is one of the deeper staffs in area baseball.