Northampton Press

Friday, September 20, 2019

Boys see streak end vs. Trojans

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 by chuck hixson spagel@tnonline.com in Sports

Northampton’s Konkrete Kids put together the longest winning streak for the school since 1990 when they rattled off 13-straight wins after opening the season with two-straight losses, including being no-hit in the season opener against Parkland.

Unfortunately, it was Parkland (13-3 overall, 12-1 EPC) that ended their run when they downed Northampton 5-4, recently.

The winning run scored on a disputed play in the bottom of the seventh inning when Jeremy Piatkewicz scored after a collision at the plate that jarred the ball away from catcher Cullen Cooper. Piatkewicz had not tagged the plate and pitcher Cameron Cooper retrieved the ball and dove to tag Piatkewicz, who was able to reach forward and tag the plate before being called out. The controversy surrounded whether Piatkewicz slid or ran into the catcher on the play.

“You have to slide, it’s as simple as that, you can’t run the guy over,” said coach Mike Sugra about the final play. “That doesn’t take away from the fact they were the better team tonight and they won the game. We’ve been playing great baseball and these guys have been phenomenal and our team should be very proud of what they’ve been doing.”

Northampton (14-3, 10-3) got two first inning runs, one coming on a single to left by Terry Graver and the next on a fielder’s choice ground ball hit by Isaac Tucker. The big hit in the inning was Mike Kuzio’s double that put runners on first and third with one out. Tucker would add two doubles and a run scored in the game.

The Trojans came back with a two-run bottom of the second thanks in part to walks to the first two hitters of the inning. Another leadoff walk followed by a bunt single in the third led to two more runs and a 4-2 Parkland lead. The Trojans had their leadoff man on to start the inning in five of the seven innings in the game, with two reaching on walks and another on a hit batter.

“If we don’t do those things to ourselves, when you consider that it was a 4-4 game in the seventh inning, it could have been a much different game,” pointed out Sugra. “I think this gives us more focus on just how well we were playing and we can improve on what we did tonight and move on from there.”

Northampton tied the game in the fourth inning on Tucker’s first double of the game, which came with one out. Cameron Eaton’s base hit put runners on first and third and a balk by pitcher Adam Smith brought home one run. One out later, Justin Taylor singled to bring home Eaton and tie the game.

The winning run was set up by Piatkewicz’s single to lead off the inning and a well-placed bunt by Blake Barthol to move the runner up to second base. Matt Ervolina singled to left and Piatkewicz ran through the third base coach’s stop sign and headed for the plate and the play that ended the game.

After the loss to Parkland, Northampton just picked up where it left off and got some revenge against Emmaus (10-6, 9-4), who had handed them a loss earlier in the season. In that game, Northampton didn’t pick up a hit until the seventh inning, starting their season by being held hitless over the first 13 innings of the year.

Tucker opened the bottom of the second against Emmaus with a home run to left field to give Northampton a 1-0 lead. Northampton picked up a second run in the inning to take a 2-0 lead until the Hornets tied the game with two runs in the top of the fourth. In the bottom of the fifth, Zach Angerman drew a walk to lead off the inning and Emmaus misplayed Kuzio’s bunt to put runners on first and second. Graver also dropped a bunt and reached on a base-hit to load the bases. One out later, Angerman scored on a passed ball to make it a 3-2 game, but Northampton couldn’t push across any other runs in the inning.

Evan Zwolenik allowed just one hit over the final two innings to throw a complete game and lock down the win for Northampton.

The Konkrete Kids have a showdown with Nazareth (9-7, 6-7) tomorrow afternoon at Coca-Cola Park and then wrap up the regular season against Whitehall (7-8, 6-6) on Monday.