Zephyrs in finals
Editor’s note: Whitehall District 11 finals game was moved from Tuesday to Thursday because of weather. However at Press deadline time, no date or location was official yet.
Owen Fischl’s RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted Whitehall over Southern Lehigh, sending them into the 5A finals against Blue Mountain for the district title.
In a play that will live in Zephyr baseball lore for a long time to come, Adin Hoderewski made the impossible possible with his acrobatic game-winning run. Fischl’s hit to left was fielded by Spartan Jared Glad who uncorked a throw that had Hoderewski beat.
But Hoderewski, whose game is defined by his baseball I.Q., turned what looked like a sure out into a walk-off win.
“He made an athletic play,” said head coach Shaun O’Boyle. “The catcher missed him as he slid around him, and he then popped up and dove for the plate.”
O’Boyle has come to expect that of his senior catcher.
“He’s a scrappy player,” said O’Boyle. “He knows the game. He knows where he’s supposed to be.”
O’Boyle said that he’s a complete player, and that’s one reason why he won’t be removed from a pinch runner for the remainder of the postseason. He’s valuable on the base paths.
Hoderewski also had a good day at the plate, finishing with two hits.
The Zephyrs find themselves back in the championship game after defeating the Trojans 3-2 at Weiland Stadium on the campus of DeSales University last Saturday afternoon. Last year Southern Lehigh eliminated them in the semifinals.
Fischl knocked in two of those runs against the Spartans, his first coming in the bottom of the fourth when he took an Andrew Lievendag offering and went back up the middle for the RBI. He’s also had RBIs in their win against Nazareth down the stretch, knocked in two against Parkland at Coca-Cola Park, and drove in a pair against Emmaus in the beginning of the month.
O’Boyle said that Fischl is batting fifth because of his run-producing capabilities, and he’s come through in a number of big spots. The lefty has also been hitting the ball the other way, and that ability to take the pitch to the opposite field led to the winning run. O’Boyle said it’s something that they’ve been working on a lot in practice.
“He got that outside pitch and he went with it,” said O’Boyle. “He executed it perfectly.”
They got a superb outing from Joe Lisicky who went seven innings for the win. He allowed 10 hits and struck out four during that span. The junior hurler said that a change on the mound has led to a second half that’s been instrumental in his late-season success.
Lisicky said that he was issuing a lot of walks in the beginning of the year. He decided to pitch from the stretch instead of the windup and that’s made all the difference. Since the switch, he’s gone 3-0 with a sub-2.00 ERA.
“I just thought it was working for me,” said Lisicky.
He said that the simplification of his delivery helped him get into a good groove.
“I’m more comfortable, and I definitely more in control,” said Lisicky.
In the win against the Spartans, Lisicky said that his offspeed pitches were working well against the veteran Southern Lehigh lineup.
“I just turned to my curve and change-up,” said Lisicky. “That got me a lot of outs.”
He was also productive at the plate, stroking a single in the first. He said that his preparation allowed him to get familiar with Lievendag’s bread and butter: the curveball. They faced him last year in the semifinals so they had a good idea what his approach would be.
“At practice we brought at the curveball machine and that really prepared me for that curve in that first inning,” said Lisicky.
Lisicky can also give a big nod to the defenders behind him, especially Fillman whose glove got them out of a pickle in the top of the fifth. With two outs and two runners on, and the game now tied after a double by Colin Houck, Fillman ranged to his left, picked the ball cleanly, and whirled and first a strike to Ben Hudak.
The Zephyrs were scheduled to play for the 5A championship at Coca-Cola Park where they were expected to send Andrew Snyder to the mound on May 28. He defeated Parkland at CCP on May 3, and O’Boyle said it’s someplace where his senior hurler feels comfortable.
But the game was at least pushed back to May 30.
Lisicky said the key to the game will be not allowing them any extra outs. He also said they’re a confident bunch heading into the game.
“We believe we have a good chance to win,” said Lisicky.