Bilder paces Catty past Pen Argyl
In the early part of the season, Zach Bilder was a mainstay on the mound for Catasauqua in the Lehigh Valley Connie Mack League.
However, Bilder left the team in the middle of the season to join his Legion squad.
To their credit, Bilder made a timely return in the opening round of the playoffs.
Bilder tossed a complete-game three hitter and recorded 12 strikeouts to lead Catasauqua to a 3-1 victory over Pen Argyl Monday night.
With the win, Catty will advance to meet Northampton in the second round, single-elimination game Wednesday evening.
The Roughies plated a pair of runs in the third and added an insurance run in the sixth. Bilder, Jaden June, and Cole Schiffer had two hits apiece, and June and Eric Ludwick each knocked in a run.
“He had a great game,” said Catty head coach Jim Kober about Bilder, who threw between 95 to 100 pitches. “It is great to have him back. We know we can give him the ball with confidence, and he looked strong out there all game.
“In the sixth, he threw 20 pitches, but he worked out of some jams.”
Catasauqua was one of three teams battling for one of the top four coveted places in the league that guaranteed a spot in the Connie Mack State Tournament.
Late in the season, Catasauqua struggled offensively after a strong start.
However, they rebounded down the stretch with a comeback 8-7 win over Stroudsburg before they routed Jim Thorpe (9-2) and Moore Township (10-4) and then edged Northeast Bethlehem, 4-3.
The streak ended with a 3-2 loss to Northampton, one which knocked them out of consideration for the state tournament.
Catty, Northampton, and Emmaus had been deadlocked for the final spot.
“Our bats are starting again,” said Kober. “But we’re still not getting some key hits. We have to keep making contact and keep working.
“When we played Northampton the last time, it was a really good game. We expect to have that same kind of game again and it will be a close one.”