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Northern Lebanon Baseball Shuts Down Bermudian Springs, Earns State Berth

On Tuesday afternoon, the Northern Lebanon Vikings found themselves traveling to Bermudian Springs to play in one final District 3 match-up on the 2023 season.  Not only was 3rd place on the line, but a trip to States was the actual top prize.  After defeating West Perry and Boiling Springs, a loss to Hanover left the Vikings in a “win or go home” situation.  However, when the busses left Fredericksburg, the players and coaches did not have any intent on going home without first securing the win.

If they would be able to complete their mission, they would become the first team in the history of Northern Lebanon’s baseball program to make States.  The first-year Viking head coach, Travis Thome, was the top pitcher on ELCO’s 2007 team that became Myerstown’s first to make States.  Ahead of this game, he had a tough decision to make in deciding which of his pitchers he was going to put on the mound to start against the Bermudian Springs Eagles.

Coach Thome decided to give Dylan Fegley the ball.  The junior pitcher had two appearances so far in the District 3 Playoffs, picking up a win and a no decision.  In this game, he would be tasked in slowing up the top-seeded Eagles who carried a 16-6 record into the match-up following a regular season YAIAA Division 3 Championship.

In their first at-bat of the day, the Vikings were aggressive at the plate and broke through immediately when Fegley, batting clean-up, drove in a run to get the scoring started.  Before Northern Lebanon could be retired, Fegley’s battery-mate catcher DJ Byerly drove in two more.  By the time the time the Vikings took the field, they held a 3-0 lead.

From that point, it was all Fegley as he was dealing a hand that Bermudian Springs could not handle.  Over the course of 6 – 2/3 innings, Fegley did not allow a run, while only giving up four hits, issuing three walked and striking out eight.  Carrying a 6-0 lead into the Bottom 7th, Fegley’s pitch count maxed out with one out left.  This allowed freshman Adrian Gonzalez to close the game out on a grounder to third, preserving the shutout in this historic win.

The Vikings had scored two in the 3rd and added an additional run in the 6thFegley was the top offensive threat for Northern Lebanon, going 3/4, reached on an error, and finished with 3 RBI.  Byerly ended the day 1/3 with a walk, but those 2 RBI in the first inning were critical in shifting momentum.  Senior Jared Ecenroad had 1 RBI the Viking’s only extra-base hit (a double), while also walking once and scoring twice.  Junior Moises Gonzalez was 1/3, walked, reached on an error, stole a base, and scored twice.  As a team, the Vikings stole six bases, with senior Brian Lowen aggressive stealing two in a pinch running appearance.

Northern Lebanon will now enter the PIAA State AAAA Baseball Tournament as the 3rd place team out of District 3.  When the tournament beings on Monday, June 5th, they will have to play a road game against Hopewell, the District 7/WPIAL Champion.  One thing to keep in mind is that the Aliquippa-based team was the 14th seed when the sixteen-team tournament began.  The Northern Lebanon Vikings and the Hopewell Vikings are two teams who not many saw coming.

Box Score


Coverage from previous District 3 games can be found here:

District 3 Playoff Tracker – Spring 2023

District Playoff Baseball: Lucky #7s Annville-Cleona, Northern Lebanon Score Upsets

Viking Baseball Notches District Win Over West Perry


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