Northampton Legion advances to finals
Northampton Legion head coach Mike Bodnar likely will remember this past Father’s Day.
Aside from his family’s celebrations, Bodnar watched his Northampton Legion team take stock of itself and begin a rampage that has carried them to the top seed in the playoffs and Northampton County League finals.
“We lost to East Stroudsburg and we played badly” said Bodnar. “I benched four players and the coaches agreed with me that we had to send a message. Our play just wasn’t acceptable.
“That really sunk in because we haven’t lost since then.”
Their latest triumph was an impressive 11-1 victory over Hellertown in the opening game of the best-of-three championship series. Catasauqua High standout Rod Berger threw a complete game four-hitter over Hellertown, which held the top spot the majority of the time this season. Game two was scheduled for Wednesday night, after Press deadlines.
Northampton advanced to the finals by defeating Birches and Nazareth in the previous two playoff series.
Bodnar knows his team had dealt with its series of adjustments throughout the season.
“We had players leaving for vacations and we had to constantly mix our lineups,” he said. “It became an everyday thing for us. But all of our kids got some playing time. Everybody picked up the slack.”
Bodnar cited the play of Berger and Northampton High’s Kyle Serman, who have carried the bulk of the work on the mound. Fellow Konkrete Kids Zach Lambert and Carson Gantz have sparked the offense. Serman recently had a complete-game outing against Nazareth in which he threw 126 pitches.
“Serman and Berger have done it all year long,” said Bodnar. “Lambert has had a steady bat, and Gantz has probably been our best player this year. He (Gantz) has kept us in games and he has had plenty of timely hits for us.”
Should Northampton win the championship series, they will advance to the American Legion Region 2 Tournament at Wilson West Lawn High School. It begins Saturday.
“We are playing well right now and we have a good chemistry,” added Bodnar.