Zephyrs top K-Kids
The Whitehall baseball team is looking to finish their regular season on a strong note, keeping the door open for a possible conference playoff berth.
Manager Shaun O’Boyle said that Monday’s loss to Emmaus most likely sealed their fate, but they still have a possibility of securing one of the eight spots if everything falls in their favor. The biggest impediment in their quest to make the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference tourney is Pleasant Valley who currently sit at 11-7 with two games remaining as of Tuesday afternoon. If the two teams share the same record at the close of the season, the Bears would get the spot by virtue of their head-to-head win against the Zephyrs on April 4.
The Zephyrs are now 9-8 overall and 7-7 inside the conference. They have an opportunity for three more victories as they host Northampton on Tuesday, and then travel to Parkland on Wednesday. The finish their regular season with a game against Crestwood on May 12.
Last Friday’s game against Easton showcased Whitehall’s ability to stand toe-to-toe against the league’s best team. Starting pitcher Robbie Lamm kept them in the game through his 6 1/3 innings on the mound, allowing four earned runs on four hits while striking out four over that stretch.
They were also able to tag Red Rover pitcher Scott Paulson for five earned runs, but couldn’t overcome one rocky inning, losing 9-5 to the Steel Division leaders.
The game, however, took a back seat after a brutal outfield collision in the bottom of the seventh. Easton’s center fielder and left fielder were chasing a fly ball when they ran into one another, knocking them both to the ground.
When the game resumed after a 45-minute delay where both players were attended to, Jacob Snyder drew the Zephyrs closer with a homer over the center field fence, knocking in two with the first varsity dinger of his career.
O’Boyle said that their hitting has been excellent all season, they were just victimized by one bad inning as the Red Rovers tacked on five runs in their half of the seventh to go up 9-3. That’s something they need to avoid, especially when facing the best team in the league.
“Unfortunately, against a good team, you can’t have a blow-up inning like that and we had one,” said O’Boyle.
The Zephyrs wound up with 14 hits, topping the Red Rovers in that department who finished with nine for the game. Easton took the lead in the bottom of the first with a two-run homer and later extended that lead with another run in the second. Whitehall answered in the bottom of the third, with Robbie Lamm’s sacrifice fly bringing home the second run of the inning, trimming Easton’s lead to 3-2.
After Easton pushed the lead to two with a solo homer in the top of the fourth, Whitehall answered with a run in the bottom of the inning as Jake Lisicky drove a ball to deep center for a double. Matt Ziminsky followed with a ball that scooted under the shortstop’s glove, and then Snyder’s hopper to third took a precipitous bounce over the third baseman’s mitt, knocking in their third run. Joe Lisicky followed with a single, but Paulson got out of the jam by getting Ben Antonchak on a fielder’s choice.
That was all the scoring the Zephyrs could muster until Snyder’s blast in the bottom of the seventh, but their ability to hit the ball around the yard demonstrated they can keep themselves in any game.
One of those players who made solid contact throughout the game was Snyder. O’Boyle said that everything he’s hit lately has been really hard.
“He’s on one of those tears,” said O’Boyle.
Snyder finished the game with two hits. He’s one of several Zephyrs who had multiple hits against Paulson, including Jake Lisicky (3-4), Adin Hoderewski (3-4), Matt Ziminsky (2-4), Joe Lisicky (2-4) and Jack Kaintz (2-4).
The Zephys rebounded with a 12-8 win over Dieruff on Saturday. In that win, Whitehall erupted for 12 hits and 12 run as Ziminsky was 2-3 with two RBIs, while Ben Hudak was also 2-3 with an RBI.
That win was followed by a 9-2 loss to the Green Hornets on Monday.
O’Boyle said that he’s happy with how they’ve been playing. He would like to see them stay in the third seed among the 5A district qualifiers, and that’s one of their goals heading into the final week.
“I like where we are right now,” said O’Boyle. “I like our chances in the playoffs. Our pitching is coming around.”
He also enjoys coaching this 2018 group.
“This is one of the hardest working teams I’ve ever coached in eight years,” said O’Boyle. “They’re really good kids.”