Northampton Press

Saturday, June 24, 2017
Press photo by Rob MerchantIan Luberti slides in safely to third base during a recent Legion game. Copyright - Digital Media Magic Press photo by Rob MerchantIan Luberti slides in safely to third base during a recent Legion game. Copyright - Digital Media Magic

Legion schedule heating up

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 by Jeff moeller Special to the Press in Sports

Through their first five games, Northampton’s Legion baseball team was off to a fast start. Yet, they are well aware that the intensity of the American Legion schedule is about to heat up in the next few weeks.

Due to a combination of rain and district and state playoff games, Northampton played only five games, but they posted an impressive 4-1 mark through the stint. In the process, they did average 10 hits and 9.5 runs per game.

“We lost to Hellertown a few weeks ago, 5-1, in a game where we just couldn’t get anything going offensively,” said head coach Mike Bodnar. “We only had three hits in the game That is really the only game where our offense hasn’t clicked.

“Overall, we have done fairly well.”

Bodnar noted the team is composed of three college freshmen, eight recent high school graduates, two high school juniors, three high school sophomores and one high school freshman. Ten of the players are new to legion ball.

“We really haven’t spent a lot of time together,” said Bodnar. “Due to how the high school season played out, we only had a few practices.”

The team has been led by a core of Northampton high school players paced by Ian Luberti, CJ Gantz, Jared Angerman, Kyle Serman, Zechariah Lambert, Tyler Bennett, and Devon Britton. All of them have had multi-hit and multi-RBI games in different circumstances through the first five games.

With some notable balance, Bodnar likes what he sees.

“For the season so far, I’ve been really impressed with the team’s plate discipline up and down the lineup and their determination to win,” said Bodnar. “They have fought hard to get to where they’re at and I only see them getting better. The pitching is the same way. We have already had six different pitchers throw and all have had a good level of success.”

Over the next few weeks, Northampton likely will have its mettle tested to try to stay atop the standings.

“The true test starts when we face a schedule of seven games in seven days,” added Bodnar. “And with the summer vacations starting, some of these upcoming lineups will be plenty imaginative to say the least.

“But we have a number of guys who have been contributing and that can keep us going.”