Northampton Press

Sunday, August 25, 2019
Press photos by Linda RothrockTerry Graver led the team in hitting this season with a .393 average. Press photos by Linda RothrockTerry Graver led the team in hitting this season with a .393 average.
Joe Kerbacher slides back safely to first base during Northampton’s Legion playoff game against Bankos. Joe Kerbacher slides back safely to first base during Northampton’s Legion playoff game against Bankos.

Legion falls in finals as bats go silent

Friday, July 19, 2019 by jeff moeller Special to the Press in Sports

Having allowed one run apiece in two playoff games normally is enough for two victories.

Unfortunately for Northampton in the Northampton County Legion tournament (NORCO), it wasn’t.

Northampton won a 1-0 over the Wanderers, but they then suffered a recent 1-0 defeat in the deciding game of a three-game series for the NORCO championship.

With the win, the Wanderers advanced to the Region 2 championship at Boyertown, while Northampton’s season came to an end with an overall 18-5 record.

“When you allowed one hit and one walk, you expect to win the game,” said Northampton head coach Mike Bodnar. “The Wanderers are a very good team, and there were some very well-pitched games.

“But our hitting has been tailing off since the end of the regular season. Our pitching was exceptional, but I don’t know what happened to our hitting.”

Bodnar noted that his club hit .115 in the finals after they thoroughly demolished Banko’s in the opening round by 10-2 and 9-1 scores.

They lost the opening round of the championship series, 1-0, on a base hit in the bottom of the ninth. Evan Zwolenick hurled eight strong innings for Northampton, as he struck out seven and allowed one hit. Zach Angerman had the lone hit for Northampton.

In the second game, Northampton rallied for a 5-4 victory behind Issac Tucker’s two-run triple in the fourth. Jared Hunsberger had a solid start over seven innings, allowing four runs on five hits with four strikeouts.

Cam Cooper started the final game and allowed one hit and one run over six innings.

Overall, Zwolenick had a 3-0 record over five starts and six appearances with a 0.92 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 32.2 innings.

Cooper had a 4-2 mark with a 2.27 ERA and fellow starter Phil Vooz had a 4-2 mark with a 0.96 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 36 innings.

Northampton’s staff had a combined 1.58 ERA.

“Our pitching was outstanding throughout the regular season and postseason,” said Bodnar. “We weren’t sure if we were going to have Zwolenick, but he had a great summer.

“Vooz and Cooper also threw very well and were consistent. I was very happy with our pitching.”

Offensively, Northampton hit .270 as a team with Terry Graver (.393), Andrew Kovalchik (.368) and Mike Kuzio (.350) leading the way.

“I was very happy to see Terry Graver finish like he did,” said Bodnar. “He got hit in the face with a fastball at the start of the season and we weren’t sure if he was coming back.