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.
The Parkland baseball team is like a close family. The program has seen many of their former players go on to play at the next level in college. And in 2015, three former Trojans battled for the same league trophy at the NCAA Division II level.
Junior Nick Rabasco (East Stroudsburg University), sophomore Damin Muth (Bloomsburg University), and freshman Gabe Mosser (Shippensburg University) competed in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.
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.
Rising sophomore Jake Bartholomew had an opportunity. Missing three starters because of prior commitments, Bartholomew was thrust into the starting lineup, and did not disappoint his coaches and teammates.
Bartholomew took the initiative and knocked down open shots and created offense off a zone defense, helping Parkland hold onto a 56-46 win against Nazareth last Thursday night at Whitehall High School.
Bartholomew tallied 12 of his 17 points in a second half where every point was crucial.
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.
It's no secret the amount of success that the Parkland boys and girls soccer teams have had over the years.
But what might not be as evident is the path some of those athletes took to get to the high school level.
The Parkland Area Soccer Club, which has been around over a decade, fields teams for in-house, recreational and travel programs. Those squads range in the age group from five years old all the way up until 19 years of age. It's those programs that have helped the high school teams reach the heights they have over the years.
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.
Austin Beidelman was used to being the go-to guy on his high school basketball team. He was counted on to take the last shot his junior and senior seasons, and finished each season as the leading scorer for Parkland.
But as he left high school behind and went on to play at Division II Kutztown University, Beidelman was not depended on to take 20 shots a game, or even the last one for that matter.
Bloomsburg University junior Chrissy Hollan spent her first two seasons as a defensive midfielder on the Huskies womens soccer team.
But as this past season got underway, Hollan was moved to the center back spot, a role she was familiar with from her days as a Trojan. With that position switch came an increase in responsibility and leadership.
The former Parkland High School graduate thrived in that leadership role to produce her best collegiate season yet.