Salisbury tops No. Valley in LVL
Sometimes you’re good. Other times you’re lucky.
The Salisbury legion baseball team played a solid game for the most part in last week’s win over Northern Valley. But it was a bit of luck in the end that helped closed the deal.
Northern Valley (3-1) scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to cut Salisbury’s lead to a single run. With runners on second and third with two outs, the Chargers had a fighting chance. But Luke Eitner ripped a line drive that hit teammate Daulton Lorrah running to third base for the final out, helping Salisbury (2-0-1) escape with a 6-5 victory last Thursday at Northwestern High School.
“[Hunter] Rothrock did a good job at second base,” Salisbury head coach Scott Heppenheimer said. “Once you make one error, it just seems the ball keeps getting hit to youu. We got really lucky. The ball hit off the kid’s foot.”
Salisbury committed two errors in the seventh inning during the Chargers’ comeback. Falcon starter Will Rodriguez was pulled after 6 1/3 innings. After pinch-hitter Ryan King struck out to open the seventh inning for the final of Rodriguez’s seven strikeouts, Northern Valley got the comeback underway.
Colton Hagadus and Owen Schoch reached base on back-to-back walks and both stole bases. Then, Justin Holmes singled through a Falcon infielder’s legs for their first error of the inning, scoring both Hagadus and Schoch. Loorah then grounded into a fielder’s choice that scored Holmes to get the Chargers within 6-5.
Reliever Tim Schware was able to get the job done with a bit of luck on the Falcons’ side when the ball hit Lorrah’s leg.
“Will and Quinn [Warmkessel] are my two main guys,” Heppenheimer said. “[Rodriguez] pitched well. I also have Taylor Linn. Hayden Kuhns, who pitched a lot for varsity, is having hamstring issues so he’s out for three weeks yet.”
Before Rodriguez exiting, he allowed just four hits and two runs en route to his second win of the season.
“I felt like I got a second wind,” Rodriguez said. “I wanted to stay in, but coach knows what is best.”
Bladimill Gautreaux grounded into a fielder’s choice in the first inning to bring home Ernesto Fermin. Warmkessel made it 2-0 after he singled and then scored on a pickoff attempt error from Northern Valley.
Rodriguez, who went 2-for-3 on the day, singled in the third inning and scored Fermin for a 3-0 Falcon lead. Fermin was 3-for-4 with two runs scored.
Northern Valley scored a run in each of the third and fifth innings to cut Salisbury’s lead to 3-2.
Salisbury, however, gave Rodriguez a bit more of a cushion on the mound and the Falcons needed it. Salisbury added three more runs in the top of the seventh inning thanks in part to two batters getting hit by pitches and two wild pitches that resulted in runners crossing the plate.
“I just tried to go out there and do my best,” Rodriguez said. “I just tried to keep focus, stay in control, and try to throw as hard as I could. Things just worked out.”
Salisbury returns a good chunk of last year’s team that found success in the postseason tournament. And the Falcons’ pitching staff figures to be a strength as the team’s schedule starts to ramp up in the upcoming weeks.
“We have some guys back and a lot of returning guys,” Heppenheimer said. “We have the pitching to compete with anybody. But South Parkland has the same guys on the team from last year.”
South Parkland won its second straight Lehigh Valley Legion championship last summer by beating Salisbury. The Trojans are 3-1 in the early going.