Falcons fall to unbeaten So. Parkland
Neither team had many chances on Sunday evening. But when South Parkland did, it took advantage.
The Trojans scored four runs in the top of the sixth inning and that’s all they would need to defeat Salisbury, 4-0, on the Falcons’ home field over the weekend. South Parkland (14-0) finished the season unbeaten as it heads into this week’s Lehigh Valley Legion playoffs as the top seed.
For Salisbury (5-10-1), it heads into the playoffs in a bit of a slump after dropping its last six games.
“My pitchers have been great all season,” Falcon head coach Scott Heppenheimer said. “Pitching hasn’t been the reason why we only have five wins. Taylor [Linn] has been lights out all season. His ERA is under .80.
“I took him out after his 60th pitch to save him for playoffs on Wednesday. [If he throws] 61 pitches, it is a mandatory three-day rest.”
Linn exited after 4 2/3 innings pitched against South Parkland. He allowed just two hits and struck out four Trojan batters. Hayden Kuhns took over in the fifth to strike out South Parkland’s Tanner Lehr and end the inning.
But it didn’t take long for the Trojans to turn the tides once the top of the lineup rolled around in the sixth. After leadoff batter Joseph Webber was hit by a pitch, Anthony Palumbo singled and Michael Morren reached base on an infield error to load the bases.
Alex Oliver then came up with South Parkland’s biggest hit of the night, a two-run shot to left field that scored Webber and Palumbo. Two more would come around to score on an Adam Smith single two batters later.
“Our defense has struggled to make the routine play consistently,” Heppenheimer said. “Today we were better, but Linn helped our defense out by staying off a lot of barrels.”
Salisbury would record one hit the rest of the way—a two-out double from Kevin Cruz in the bottom of the sixth. But the Falcons certainly had their chances.
After a leadoff walk to open the game from Ernesto Fermin, Salisbury left the bases load to end the first inning. The first two batters reached base in the fourth and advanced into scoring position moments later. However, a pop-out-throw-out double play at home ended the Falcons’ threat.
Fermin was hit by a pitch and Linn then singled to keep the fifth inning alive. The two advanced into scoring position on a Trojan error with two outs, however Fermin was thrown out at home during a rundown from third base.
“Against South Parkland you have to play your best game to beat them,” Heppenheimer said. “And today we had a lot of base-running mistakes and poor two-strike approaches at the plate for some guys.”
The Falcons left seven runners on base.
Salisbury will get its chance against the other team from Schnecksville, North Parkland, once the playoffs start on Wednesday. And the Falcons have faired much better against the No. 2 seeded Buffaloes.
“We played two great games against them this year,” Heppenheimer said. “We ended up losing both, but we lost 2-0 and then 10-9 in the second game on a walk off. They are a solid team and well coached.”
The Lehigh Valley Legion tournament uses a double-elimination format with the winner going on to the Region 2 Tournament as the LVL’s only representative in the next round.