Northampton Press

Friday, September 20, 2019
Press photo by Linda RothrockCole Rufe and the Kids have won 12-straight games as of this week. Press photo by Linda RothrockCole Rufe and the Kids have won 12-straight games as of this week.

Baseball looks to keep their win streak alive

Thursday, April 25, 2019 by Jeff moeller Special to the Press in Sports

A situation that once looked like a deprived season for the Northampton baseball team has developed one with a few whiskers around the edges.

With their 5-1 win over Easton Tuesday, the Konkrete Kids won 12 consecutive game after they dropped opening games to Parkland and Emmaus. The Kids and some of their coaches also made a vow nine games ago not to shave until they lose.

Needless to say, there are some beards coming into form.

They have won the most consecutive games since 1997, and the school record is 16 set in 1990.

“The kids say not shave until we lose,” said head coach Mick Sugra. “And I said ... sure. That was a while ago. I want to shave so bad, but I don’t want to shave!”

During the streak, the Kids (12-2, 8-2 East Penn Conference) have averaged eight runs a game. Before the Easton game, they had a team batting average of .279 and the team pitching ERA of 1.96.

Still, Sugra is working to keep his club maintaining their status quo. The Kids already have locked up a district berth. They do have rematches with Parkland (Saturday) and Emmaus (Monday) ahead.

“It is more stressful than an up and down season for sure,” he said. “We’re trying to soak it all in a bit and enjoy it. Keeping the kids focused on the next pitch, next game is all that matters. We can’t look ahead or back, and we just want to keep them in the here and now. We want to stay focused on them doing their jobs one pitch at a time.”

Junior Evan Zwoelnick (3-0), who registered the win over Easton, has helped form the Kids’ effective trifecta starting staff along with seniors Cole Rufe (2-0, 1.13) and Phil Vooz (2-0, 1.13).

“Our season has been going good,” said Rufe. “After we played Parkland and Emmaus, we started working harder and pushing ourselves to be better. Things like this happen in baseball. Even though we qualified for districts, we are not done yet. We are going to keep playing the best baseball we can until the very end.”

Rufe also has been pleased with his performance.

“I have been working hard to hit my spots and keep my pitches down,” he said. “We all work hard every day to beat the best and be the best.”

Senior Andrew Kovalchik sees the situation as an ever-revolving one.

“Since we lost the first two games, our team chemistry is stronger than ever,” said Kovalchik, who is hitting .333. “We are all constantly picking each other up and encouraging one another. The plan is to win out and finish 18-2. That would be a great way to cap off the season and have me momentum heading into the postseason.”