Legion team set for playoffs
Northampton received a few days off from the opening round of the Northampton County Legion playoffs with a bye after a second-place finish.
With their first game either Wednesday or Thursday, they’ll begin to piece together their pitching staff for a long run.
Overall, Northampton ended the regular season with an impressive 15-3 mark after they lost to Nazareth, 5-4, in a walkoff finale July 3.
Northampton will meet the winner of the Nazareth-Banko’s best-of-three series.
“The good news is that we did get a bye,” said head coach Mike Bodnar. “It is very possible that we will see Nazareth again. They are a very good team.
“We have a couple of days off to rest. We will probably have some pitching issues to deal with.”
Bodnar envisions his team piecing together some games due to vacations and other issues.
Evan Zwolenick, who has a 3-0 record and a 0.28 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 24 innings, will be available to start their first game.
Jared Hunsberger’s status is uncertain due to his class schedule. Hunsberger has a 4-0 mark with a 1.55 ERA and a team-high 38 strikeouts in 27 innings. Phil Vooz (3-2, 0.95, 31 strikeouts in 29 innings) also has an uncertain status due to a vacation.
Bodnar will look to Cam Cooper (4-1, 3.20), Joe Kerbacher (1-0, 0.00), Mike Kuzio (0-0, 0.00 1 save) and Andrew Kovalchik to likely log some innings.
“We’ll have Evan (Zwolenick) for our first game, and then we’ll have to platoon our pitching,” he said. “We’ll look to guys to give us two to three inning here and there. We’ll look to some kids to give us innings.
“It could be tough, but we have the same situation every year. We’ll battle through it.”
Offensively, Bodnar doesn’t expect his club to affected by any issues.
Kovalchik (.415, 17 hits, 7 RBIs), Kuzio (.409, 18 hits, 10 RBIs) and Zech Lambert (.407, 8 RBIs) have been consistently hitting well all season. Cam Eaton could be returning to the lineup soon.
Last season, Northampton made it to the third round of regionals before its season ended.
“We’ll see what happens,” added Bodnar. “If we have to juggle our pitching, we’ll have to hit our way through.”