Boys off to fast start
It's been a blazing start for the Zephyr baseball team as they were undefeated heading into action this week.
Whitehall was 6-0 , getting a mix of solid pitching and timely hitting until they ran into Liberty Tuesday afternoon and suffered their first defeat of the season, 6-5.
It's a team that can do a lot of things well: pitch, play defense and hit. Head coach Shaun O'Boyle said that they also excel in another area that's sometimes overlooked, and that's been a prime reason for their success.
"If we make the routine plays defensively, and run the bases hard, we're going to win." said O'Boyle.
He said the team has capitalized on going from first to third on a hit, as well as bunting runners over, putting pressure on the opposing team to make a make a play. It's something they stress in practice and it's been paying dividends.
O'Boyle said their acumen on the base paths has caught the attention of the coaches who "have never seen kids run the bases the way they do."
It also helped them put up a lot of crooked numbers on the scoreboard this season.
"I attribute a lot of our runs to running then bases aggressively," said O'Boyle.
In their win over Nazareth Area High School, the Zephs relied on a strong start from Jake Wloczweski who struck out 10 Blue Eagles to register the win. The senior pitcher also had three runs batted in, helping his team to the 8-4 win.
They bunched runs in two innings, scoring four runs in the fourth and the sixth innings to nail down the win.
Also having a solid game was Jon Winter who had a double and an RBI. In addition, Tyler Bridgwood wielded a might stick, going 2-3 with two runs batted in.
Saturday saw the Zephs battle Bangor Area High School. They banged out nine hits to topple the Slaters, 8-2.
Jake Meyers got the win. He went five strong innings to record the victory. O'Boyle said he struck out three, while walking four. However, his ability to get the Slaters to put the ball in play, allowing his fielders to make plays was another key to the victory. It's another area that O'Boyle stresses.
"We're making the routine plays, and it's that ability that's been helping us," said O'Boyle.
Meyers gives the Zephs another solid arm. They have been able to throw three quality pitchers at their opponents this season, with Wloczweski, Mortimer and Meyers all 2-0. At the back end is Tyler Sweeney who has also been a stalwart on the mound. O'Boyle said that when they hand the ball to him, he's been shutting the door.
At the plate against Bangor, Zach Delp had a good day, stroking a triple and double, plating three runs in the process. Matt Bonshak had a good day at the dish as well, going 2-4 with a run scored. Jeff Charles also had an extra-base hit, a triple, knocking in two.
In the 10-5 win over Bethlehem Catholic High School, the Zephs relied on the strength of starter Mortimer to nail down the win. O'Boyle said he had another quality start, going five strong innings and allowing three earned runs. He also ripped at the plate, going 2-4 with 2 RBIs.
Also getting into the lumber business was Matt Bonshak who 2-4, including a double, and Winter who was 2-3 with 2 RBIs.
The Zephs are getting production up and down their line-up. O'Boyle said he can probably flip-flop the entire line-up, that's how solid they are one through nine. That team production is not by accident, he said.
"They're tough outs," said O'Boyle. "We stress making sure that we get good at bats, hit the ball hard, move the runners, and put the ball in play."
In fact, he said his full roster is worthy of playing time, confessing it's hard to make a starting line-up with the talent they have.
"When they're getting their chances, they're doing well," O'Boyle said.