Tyler Keller almost left one of the biggest decisions he ever had to make up to chance.
“It was the night before [and] I had to make my decision the next day,” Keller said of his college choice. “I had no idea what to do. I was torn between both of them because they both had the same pros and cons and same cost. It wasn’t my brightest move, but I flipped a coin—heads was George Washington and tails was Lehigh. And it landed on George Washington.”
But that’s not how Keller does business.
Salisbury’s biggest challenge on the basketball court is dealing with teams that have height.
The Falcons ran into three teams with plenty of size during last week’s SportsFest A-Town Throwdown tournament at Cedar Beach. And while Salisbury lost all three games in pool play, head coach Jason Weaver saw some positives despite knowing the obstacle that was in front of his team.
Salisbury knew what it would take on Sunday. A solid 14 innings of baseball and victories in both games of a doubleheader against Coplay would give the Falcons the regular season Lehigh Valley Legion championship.
The Falcons would needed a little more than 14 innings. After a convincing 8-1 victory in the first game on Sunday, Salisbury needed extra innings to get the job done in the night cap. But the Falcons were able to come from behind and secure the 4-3 victory in nine innings at Salisbury High School.
Salisbury may have not started the inaugural Cedar Beach Basketball Showcase on a strong foot, but it certainly finished on one.
After falling to Boyertown’s B team on Friday night to kick off the tournament, the Lady Falcons looked like a different team on Saturday. Not even 24 hours later, they began a string of three straight wins to advance into play late Sunday afternoon where their run came to an end.
The Salisbury legion team had a rare night off from playing a game on Monday, but head coach Scott Heppenheimer was still at work. He went to the Coplay and West Allentown game for a bit of scouting. He wasn’t the only one.
“I went to watch the Coplay and West Allentown game today, and there were five of my players sitting down the left field line watching their game,” Heppenheimer said. “That was kind of cool. They’re excited. We have work to do yet, but we are in a pretty good spot right now.”
Perhaps the biggest challenge lying ahead for head coach Jason Weaver is how he’s going to replace the size of Jaxon Costello, Ryan Slutsky and Eric Frankenfield.
If he can’t replace them, Weaver is hoping to at least mask their departures and his team is focused on that this summer.
The Falcons have adjusted to life without those three in summer league play so far. And most recently, they got a prime opportunity to gauge their progress in the inaugural Cedar Beach Basketball Showcase.
Several Salisbury High School graduates competed on college athletic teams this past spring season.
Saint Joe’s pitcher Justin Aungst spent a majority of last baseball season coming out of the bullpen. This past spring he started eight out of the 15 games he appeared in, posting a 2-3 record with a 5.22 ERA. In his 50 innings he allowed 54 hits and 29 earned runs while striking out 38 batters and walking 18.
The first game of Salisbury’s legion doubleheader against Lower Mac didn’t go as planned Saturday. An 8-1 defeat handed the Falcons their first loss of the young season.
But they responded when the two teams took the field in the evening. Led by 15-year old Will Rodriguez’s complete game, one-run effort, Salisbury took game two of the doubleheader, 6-1 on its home field.
Although still months away, the scene will look drastically different when the Salisbury boys basketball team takes the hardwood in the winter. But summer basketball fans are getting a glimpse of what next year’s team will look like.
Without graduates Jaxon Costello (a Colonial League First Team all-star) and Ryan Slutsky occupying the paint, Salisbury will shift from a post-heavy team to one that hopes to take advantage of its speed. And while it has looked different this summer, the Falcons are adapting well to that change for the most part.
Last year’s Salisbury Connie Mack baseball team won the regular season championship. A banner hangs on the fence at the high school field just behind home plate acknowledging those Falcons and their feat.
Now, many of those same Connie Mack players have moved up to the legion level looking to get a team back on track that has struggled in recent years. And through two games, it looks like the Falcons have carried that momentum over to the legion ranks.