Kids fall to Parkland, 2-1
In a game matching two teams that have some offensive questions about themselves, a 2-1 outcome wasn’t exactly unexpected. For Northampton, the offense sputtered against one of the better pitching staffs in the EPC and wound up on the losing end of the score and without any hits on the day.
Pitchers Adam Smith and Koby Staivecki held the Konkrete Kids hitless as the teams battled for eight innings before the Trojans scored a run in the top of the eighth and Northampton couldn’t generate anything in the bottom of the inning to mount a comeback.
“I figured it would be low-scoring today because they had Adam Smith going, who was the pitcher of the year last season. We’re confident in our pitchers, unfortunately, a couple of errors cost us,” said coach Mike Sugra. “More than anything I think this is a learning experience and it shows that we have the potential to play with anybody, we saw that today. To take it to the next level, we have to button up those other things.”
The Trojans looked to manufacture runs throughout the game. They scored a first inning run on a two-out single by Matt Ervolina, who promptly stole second and then scored when Josh Miller singled to drive home Ervolina and give Parkland a 1-0 lead which held up until Northampton put a run on the board in the fifth without the benefit of a hit.
Jarrett Clark was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Cameron Eaton put down a sacrifice bunt to move Clark to second. Andy Kovalchik then hit a hard ground ball to second baseman Jeremy Piatkiewicz, whose errant flip to first allowed Clark to score all the way from second on the play to tie the game.
Parkland’s winning run also came with two outs and nobody on base when Phil Schoch tripled to right. Piatkiewicz followed with a base-hit that found its way through the infield allowing Schoch to score what would be the game-winning run. The Konkrete Kids looked to mount a two-out rally against reliever Staivecki in the bottom of the inning when Zach Angerman drew a walk. Staivecki worked his way ahead of Mike Kuzio, who then hit a ball hard to center field that was hauled in by Joe Webber.
“I thought we held our own today and we tied it up, but just couldn’t get a run across when we needed it,” said Sugra.
Evan Zwolenik went 7 1/3 innings for Northampton, striking out six batters and not walking any. Zwolenik allowed just three hits in the game. Terry Graver came on in relief of Zwolenik, who had thrown 92 pitches, and took the loss in the game.
It’s tough to replace all of the holes that graduation created in the Northampton lineup and Sugra still isn’t quite sure what to expect from his offense as a whole. He does know that his team has pitching and can play some defense, so he believes they should be in good shape.
“The big question was how are these guys going to hit at this level?” asked Sugra. “We graduated five guys who hit .330 for us, so that’s huge. At the same time, we started a little earlier with our offseason workouts so we could get some extra hitting because we knew we had a lot of hitters to replace.”
The early season schedule doesn’t give Northampton much of a break either as they have to face Emmaus Thursday afternoon and will likely face another top-quality pitcher in lefty Kellan Tullio, who will pitch for Division 1 Louisville next season.