Northampton Press

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Win and they’re in...

Thursday, May 10, 2018 by Jeff moeller Special to the Press in Sports

For the Northampton baseball team, it certainly was gut-check time.

Head coach Mick Sugra envisioned his team getting into the play-in game of the District 11 Class 6A tournament.

But the Konkrete Kids entered Wednesday night’s season finale at home needing a win over Nazareth on their senior night to grab a spot. That result was past Press deadlines.

They had a 9-10 record and were in the midst of a roller-coaster two weeks that saw them potentially peaking at the right time to treading water near the bottom.

The Kids began the week with a torrid final three-game schedule with Parkland, Whitehall and Nazareth.

After they won four straight and seemed to have a lock on a postseason bid, they dropped a 9-1 loss to Parkland and followed with a 7-1 defeat to Whitehall.

Brittain Shander and Kyle Morin had two hits apiece at the top of the Kids’ lineup, and Seth Laky added a pair from their allotment of eight hits.

Evan Zwolenik, who was impressive in his debut in a recent win over Liberty, allowed four runs and seven hits over five innings.

“Against Parkland, we shot ourselves in the foot defensively,” said head coach Mick Sugra. “By not fielding a bunt coupled with an error started their 4-run inning. We didn’t field two more bunts in the seventh and that led to a three-run inning.

“We cannot give a good team like Parkland extra outs. We hit the ball well and only struck out three times, but we never had that string of hits needed offensively to get us going.”

Against Whitehall, the Kids again faced Matt Ziminsky, who beat them 8-1 on April 17.

“Ziminsky beat us last time and he threw a good game this time,” said Sugra. “We didn’t capitalize on our opportunities offensively, and they did.”

Before their recent skid, the Kids posted an impressive four-game ride.

They blasted Becahi, 13-3 and then edged Liberty, 8-6. From there, the Kids followed with a 14-2 thumping of Emmaus and posted a 6-1 win over Pocono Mountain East.

Before the streak, the Kids dropped a 18-13 slugfest to Allentown Central Catholic, a game that despite its inefficiencies proved to be a kick-start.

“In that game, we had six errors, six walks, and six hit batsmen,” said Sugra. “But we got our bats going again. We also got our pitching back on track after that game. Cole Rufe has really been consistent for us, but Jared Hunsberger and Mike Ettl have struggled.

“We need to get everything together.”

The question was whether or not the Kids could do it in time?