Jake Paashaus leads Zephyrs
Whitehall’s bats sprang to life against Nazareth on Monday, while Jake Paashaus’ arm silenced the opposing Blue Eagles’ sticks, helping the Zephyrs position themselves closer for a berth in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playoffs.
Whitehall scored five runs in the first inning and then coasted to the 7-1 victory. The win evens their record at 7-7. It also puts them in the hunt among the eight teams vying for an EPC playoff spot. The win also gives them a boost since it was against a team that’s also looking to secure one of those final spots. Nazareth currently has the better division record, while Whitehall holds the edge over the Blue Eagles in conference play.
Paashaus took the mound and threw a gem for the Zephs, tossing a complete game to get their record to .500.
The senior had a clean first inning, setting the tone for the rest of the game. He retired the side in order, striking out two. Sandwiched in-between those Ks was a good defensive play by second baseman Shane Fillman who needed to really extend to snare a sharply hit line drive.
Paashaus finished the game with seven strikeouts over his seven innings of work. He also didn’t allow a walk, and surrendered just six hits.
Head coach Shaun O’Boyle said that Paashaus has had a few outings like that this season, and with their bats really peppering the ball on Monday, it became their third win in a row for a team that’s starting to get hot down the stretch.
O’Boyle said that their offense has really been productive lately. They scored nine runs against Bethlehem Catholic, and 19 against William Allen. That’s dovetailed with the pitching they’ve received over that stretch.
“Lately, we’ve been hitting the ball and getting good pitching,” said O’Boyle.
O’Boyle said that Paashaus had his curveball working against the Eagles. It’s an important pitch in his repertoire.
“When he can get his curve ball over in any count, which he did against Nazareth, and throw it for strikes, it makes his fastball look 10 miles-per-hour faster,” said O’Boyle.
O’Boyle said that when he commands the curve, it keeps the hitters off balance.
“That’s what he did,” O’Boyle said.
Fillman led off the game with a walk. Adin Hoderewski followed with a bloop hit to left. Andrew Snyder came to the plate and hit a sharp ground ball that Nazareth tried to turn into a double play, but the ball got away on the throw to second.
That led to the first run. Joe Lisicky kept the line moving with a single to the gap in left-center, scoring two more. Ben Hudak then doubled to bring in two more to finish the scoring for the Zephs.
That was all they would need as the Eagles just pushed across a run in the seventh as Paashaus locked up the complete-game win.
O’Boyle said that they’ve cut down on their walks and that’s helped fuel this upswing. He said they’ve reduced their free passes and that’s prevented the big innings that plagued them earlier in the season.
“Our pitchers are doing a lot better with the walks, and that’s been a big part of it,” said O’Boyle.
They also solidified their infield defense. O’Boyle said that they brought up freshman Quinn Wentling and inserted him at shortstop. That move brought Fillman to second, and it’s led to a defense that’s playing better, according to O’Boyle.
“That’s our best infield,” said O’Boyle.
Owen Fischl, Snyder and Hoderewski all had two hits in the win against the Blue Eagles, while Lisicky and Fischl each knocked in two runs.
It’s a busy week for the Zephs. They’ll play four more games this week, with Thursday their only off day.