Northampton Press

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Press photo by Rob MerchantJustin Taylor tries to haul in a throw at third base against East Stroudsburg in a game from Tuesday evening. Copyright - Digital_Media_Magic_LLC_Nazareth_PA Press photo by Rob MerchantJustin Taylor tries to haul in a throw at third base against East Stroudsburg in a game from Tuesday evening. Copyright - Digital_Media_Magic_LLC_Nazareth_PA

Legion faces long stretch of consecutive games

Wednesday, June 26, 2019 by jeff moeller Special to the Press in Sports

Northampton Legion head coach Mike Bodnar knew his challenges this season would be different than last year.

Mainly, health and depth are on his side this year.

But Bodnar’s biggest challenge will come down the final stretch of the season that began Monday night when his team (7-2) was faced with the predicament of playing eight consecutive games in as many days and nine games in 10 days.

“It is about to get really interesting,” said Bodnar. “No one likes to play early. Everybody keeps pushing games off. We are all in the same boat.

“Last week, we had five guys missing, but we have had some guys really stepped up for us.”

Bodnar cited the performances of pitchers Phil Vooz (1-1, 1.44, 16 strikeouts in 19 innings), Cam Cooper (2-1, 4.34) and Jared Hunsberger (0-0, 3.00, 16 strikeouts in 14 innings). Evan Zwolenik, who won seven games for the varsity this spring, is back after playing in the Phillies’ Carpenter Cup tournament.

“Those guys have done a great job,” said Bodnar. “Jared Hunsberger recently returned and has thrown some big back-to-back games for us.

“Evan Zwolenik should be able to throw two of the next eight games for us. We have guys like Mike Kuzio and Joe Kerbacher who have been able to throw some innings for us, and that has really helps us.”

Offensively, Kuzio (.500, 8 RBIs) and Zech Lambert (.571) have been consistent throughout the season.

“Those two guys have been very solid for us,” said Bodnar. “They are both getting a couple of hits each day.

“We had some guys come back and they were hitting. I hope they can pick up where they left off. We have been scoring runs late, and we have to get better overall as a team. Some guys are having great years and some have been struggling. We have to be consistent.”

Bodnar has his sights set on finishing among the top-two teams in the league, but he will settle for the top-three. Getting through this stretch with five or six wins will go a long way.

“We believe we have the pitching to get through this,” said Bodnar. “If we continue to hit the ball, we can put ourselves in a very good position.”