Northampton Press

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Baseball battled to make playoffs Baseball battled to make playoffs

Baseball battled to make playoffs

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 by Jeff moeller Special to the Press in Sports

For the Northampton baseball team, it proved to be more about the parts than the whole.

The Konkrete Kis finished the season with a 2-1 loss to Pleasant Valley in the opening round of the Class 6A playoffs.

They finished the year with an overall 10-11 record, a season that was a roller coaster in more ways than one.

“It was a trying year,” said head coach Mick Sugra, who finished his eighth year at the helm. “We needed to be more unified as a team. We had five players who weren’t part of our team workouts in the offseason, and they thought it was better.

“But we are not may any excuses.”

The Kids couldn’t find a consistent rhythm throughout the season, and it was mainly due to their pitching. Their mound corps finished with an overall 3.97 ERA, as they failed to find an effective three-man staff all season.

They did make an impressive late season run, winning five of their last eight games to make districts. The Kids ended their year with a 16-1 blowout of Nazareth.

“We were sitting at 5-8 and as coaches we thought we couldn’t make districts,” said Sugra. “But kudos to the kids for making it through. We needed to win the last game of the year against Nazareth, and they did it in grand fashion.”

The Kids did hit .339 as a team, the second highest in Sugra’s tenure falling just short of .348 set in 2011. They also had a fine year in their overall fielding percentage.

Still, Sugra cited the team’s pitching woes. They had 66 walks and 22 hit batsmen in 129 innings. The Kids also were victims of explosive innings in many of their first 11 games, placing them in an untimely hole.

“You can’t put 88 runners on base in 129 innings,” said Sugra. “In high school baseball, pitching is the name of the game. We didn’t have a consistent starting staff all season. A couple of key guy struggled throughout the year.”

Sugra will welcome back Cole Rufe, who became the ace of the staff and recorded 59 strikeouts. He will be joined by Evan Zwolenick, Phil Vooz and Terry Graver, all of whom blossomed during the season.