Legion off to a good start
Northampton’s Legion team ended last year’s campaign in the opening round of the state regional playoffs with nine healthy players.
Unless injuries arise again, that shouldn’t be a problem for them this season.
Depth won’t be an issue for Northampton, as it has an abundance of players from the EPC champion high school team as well as some recent graduates who are playing on the collegiate level.
As a result, Northampton won five of its first six games (5-1), suffering its first loss to Banko’s (7-2) Sunday.
“We practically have the whole high school lineup,” said head coach Mike Bodnar. “We have three college players and two coming up from Connie Mack.
“I could have kept 25 or more guys this year. Numbers aren’t a problem for us this year.”
Recent grad Jared Hunsberger, who anchored the staff last season, and Mike Yettl, who is coming off labrum surgery, are back along with junior Evan Zwolenick, who posted a 7-1 record with the varsity this spring.
Cam Cooper, who helped the Kids out of the bullpen, also figures prominently in the plans.
Mike Kuzio, who won the varsity’s Black Bat award for the top batting average, hasn’t missed a beat during the early going as he has a .474 clip with five RBIs, nine hits and six runs.
Zech Lambert leads the team with a .667 batting average.
“We’re coming along,” said Bodnar. “We’re at a good spot right now with a good number of guys hitting over .400.”
Yet, Bodnar knows the team will have to battle the test of summer vacation attrition.
“We know we can have four or five kids on vacation,” he said. “But it looks like we’ll have our pitching staff for the season. We feel we have enough bodies to have a solid lineup. It happens every year, but we like our chances this season.
“I think we can make it work, and we’ll see what happens.”
They will miss pitcher/infielder Terry Graver, who won’t be available until the playoffs with a broken bone in his nose.
With an apparent deck stacked in their favor, Bodnar already likes his chances to make a run in the postseason, but he remains cautiously optimistic.
“I don’t want to jinx myself,” he said. “We’re off to a good start and we just have to remain consistent.”