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Baseball: Northern Lebanon Takes Round 1 Against Section 4 Rival Annville

By Steve Beard, LebCoSports Senior Baseball Contributor


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Northern Lebanon 10, Annville Cleona 0 [F/6]

Despite a run-rule win by the Vikings as they piled on runs late in the game, Friday’s Section 4 match-up between Northern Lebanon and Annville-Cleona showcased the talents of two well-coached athletic teams who demonstrated that they have what it takes to be a factor in League and District playoffs. Buoyed by a little small ball, timely clutch situational hitting, one long home run, and a dominant pitching performance by sophomore Adrian Gonzalez, the Vikes parlayed a tight 2-0 lead at the end of four innings into a big win as the first round of section play concluded.

Despite windy conditions, the weather was not a factor in the game. A. Gonzalez and AC’s Noah Morcom traded scoreless first innings until NL struck in the home half of the second. Brian Bicksler drew a one-out walk and advanced when Vincent Batistelli reached on an infield error. A Luke Kleisath single loaded the bases and set up a two-run double to left by SS Andrew Via. Morcom mitigated the damage, and the two pitchers traded scoreless innings in the third. Gonzalez was helped by two nice running catches by Bicksler (Video).  Morcom had an outstanding inning in the third when he worked around a bunt single by Connor Stoltz and ended it with a pop up and a “caught looking” strikeout to end the frame.

In the fourth, it was Gonzalez’ turn to work around trouble. A lead-off infield single by Cameron Connelly was the baserunner for the Little Dutchmen. Connelly was gunned down by Stoltz when he attempted to steal second. Zac Frentz hit a single (Video),  but was stranded when AC could not convert. Frentz made a slick play in the bottom half of the inning, ranging to his left and making a strong throw on the run to record the third out for AC. Adrian Gonzalez, reigning LebCo Sports rookie of the year and pitcher of the year, struck out the side in the fifth, showing that he had plenty left in the tank in his second start this week, mixing in a couple of filthy off-speed pitches with a crisp fastball.

In the bottom of the fifth, Moises Gonzalez drove an outside pitch high and far over the right field wall, which was likely the only mistake Morcom had made to that point. Later in the inning, with Shoemaker at third, Bicksler attempted to steal second and executed that play flawlessly, getting into a rundown and staying in it long enough to allow Shoemaker to score. NL led 5-0 at the end of five.

A. Gonzalez returned to the mound and worked around a questionable call that led to a walk in the sixth, adding his ninth strikeout of the day. Morcom gave way to the bullpen, having thrown five innings with two of five runs earned, having acquitted himself well on the mound, and likely having deserved a better fate.

Following a Hayden Adams walk at the bottom of the sixth, Owen Fahringer was hit by a pitch, and A. Gonzalez drew a walk. Stoltz tripled, followed by a Shoemaker double, and walked off with a Bicksler triple to take a 5-0 manageable game to a 10-0 final within six pitches. Adrian Gonzalez finished with six innings, two hits, one walk, and nine strikeouts to claim the win.

The Vikings and Dutchmen will meet up two more times this season with games scheduled for April 19th and May 6th.

Northern Lebanon is now 7-1 and 5-0 in Section 4. The Vikings will host Schuylkill Valley on Saturday before returning to league play with a home game against Columbia on Monday.

Annville-Cleona is 6-2 and 3-2 in Section 4. The Dutchmen will play at Pequea Valley on Tuesday.

Box Score


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