Northampton Legion moves on to regionals
Northampton Legion head coach Mike Bodnar didn’t want to see history repeat itself.
Unfortunately, it did.
Nazareth shutout Northampton in consecutive games to capture the Northampton County Legion (NORCO) title in a best-of-three series. Northampton suffered the same fate to Hellertown last year in the championship round.
“The same thing happened again,” said Bodnar. “Maybe the pressure gets to them. They stop doing what they have been doing the whole year.”
Northampton was blanked 1-0 in game one and then 8-0 in game two. They defeated the Wanderers in a best-of-three series to advance to the final round.
However, their season will continue at the regional round at Muhlenberg High School. They will meet the Bux-Mont league champion in the opening round of the double-elimination tournament Friday at 11 a.m. at Muhlenberg High School in Berks County.
Bodnar stated the lack of players, as well as injuries lately, have played a role. Shortstop Kyle Morin played the final game with a mask after he sustained broken bones in his face.
“One big problem is that we have been short of players,” said Bodnar. “We had 11 for the final game. We also have injuries, guys working and guys on vacation. Injuries, though, have really hurt our pitching staff. Right now, we have three guys and we may a fourth.”
Northampton will have the services of Jared Hunsberger, who has emerged as the team’s ace and has thrown two no-hitters this season. Hunsberger recently took the loss in the team’s 1-0 game against Nazareth in which he allowed six hits and struck out four.
“He (Hunsberger) pitched a great game in the loss to Nazareth,” said Bodnar. “We had a chance to tie the game with second and third with one out, but we couldn’t score. (Hunsberger) has done a great job for us all season.”
Northampton is anxious for a break, as it has played five games in as many days and seven in eight days.
Bodnar is optimistic his club can shake their doldrums on a bigger stage.
“I hope so,” he said. “It’s great that we get break because we have guys with bruises, bumps, and broken bones. We’re going to a bigger tournament and we want to have a respectable showing.”