Northampton Press

Monday, May 20, 2019
Press photo by Mike FeifelJustin Taylor connects on a pitch during an EPC playoff game against Pleasant Valley last week. Press photo by Mike FeifelJustin Taylor connects on a pitch during an EPC playoff game against Pleasant Valley last week.

Kids set to face Emmaus next

Thursday, May 16, 2019 by Jeff moeller Special to the Press in Sports

It continues to be a season of accomplishments for the Northampton baseball team.

With their East Penn Conference (EPC) semifinal playoff appearance against Emmaus Tuesday, the Konkrete Kids made their first appearance under current head coach Mick Sugra. A win would send them into the finals Thursday against either Liberty or Easton.

Previously, the Kids under Sugra made it to the EPC quarterfinals and lost both times (Parkland in 2017 and Stroudsburg in 2015).

The Kids also recorded the most regular season victories (17) since 1995. They won 15 in 2015 and also in 2017.

Their earlier 13-game winning streak topped the 1998 mark of nine consecutive and also fell just short of the school record of 16 set in 1990. It was a streak that began after opening-game losses to Parkland and Emmaus, two teams that have stood in their way over the years. They did avenge the loss to Emmaus in recent weeks.

“We maybe didn’t expect it to go this well,” said senior Cam Eaton. “But we have been working for it a long time.

“When we hear Parkland and Emmaus, there was always a fear in the back of our minds. It was a mental lift beating (Emmaus) and we just have to keep it simple from now on.”

Regardless of their outcome in the EPC, the Kids will be hosting an opening-round district game next week as they began the week seeded third in the District 11 Class 6A power rankings. Depending on the outcome of the EPC tournament, the Kids should drop no lower than third in the bracket.

“What they are doing is something special and they should be proud of it,” said Kids’ head coach Mick Sugra. “We have accomplished many things this year, but the EPC and district prizes are still out there for us.”

In districts, the Kids likely will again see Pleasant Valley, whom they defeated, 2-1, in the EPC quarterfinals.

Against Pleasant Valley, junior Evan Zwolenick raised his record to 6-0 when he tossed an eight-strike out, four-hitter over a 94-pitch complete game performance.

Eaton scored the winning run when he stole third and scored on a wild throw.

“That was a good win over Pleasant Valley team that has kind of had our number over the years,” added Sugra. “Evan (Zwolenick) threw a great game. To move on is something we have been looking forward to.”

Zwolenick understands the whole picture.

“I knew it was a big game and coach Sugra always says to ‘take one pitch at a time,’” said Zwolenick. “We all know it would be awesome to win a league title and a district one, but we need to focus on one game at a time.

“I knew we would make plays and hit the ball. I pounded my zones and hit my spots. Coach (Jeff) Erschen called another good game. It was a great win, but we aren’t done yet.”