East Penn Press

Friday, October 20, 2017
PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBEric Cichocki crosses the plate during Monday’s win over Parkland. Copyright - DonHerb                                               PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBEric Cichocki crosses the plate during Monday’s win over Parkland. Copyright - DonHerb
PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERB Matt Lanzone pitched two quality starts in the past week and earned wins over Parkland and Whitehall. Copyright - DonHerb                                               PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERB Matt Lanzone pitched two quality starts in the past week and earned wins over Parkland and Whitehall. Copyright - DonHerb

Emmaus beats Parkland

Thursday, April 20, 2017 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

With Parkland’s Michael Jenkins making it tough to score runs, Emmaus coach Mike Mihalik decided to have his team get a little aggressive late in the game Monday, and it paid off. The end result was a 3-2 Emmaus win and momentum going into other big games.

With the game scoreless going to the top of the sixth inning, Jake Hahn led off with a base-hit, which opened the door to being more aggressive for the Hornets (4-1 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, 6-2 overall). Zach Schrader followed with a well-executed hit-and-run to move pinch-runner Randy Weldon to second with one out.

“It was more of an aggressive sacrifice on our part,” said Mihalik. “Michael [Jenkins] is so good at holding runners on. He’s quick to the plate and the catcher’s got a good arm. We couldn’t really get too much going with the running game, so we tried to make something happen there. Zach did a good job of executing and put the ball in play and we put some pressure on them.”

From there, it was time for the hitters to be aggressive as five straight batters went after the first pitch of their at-bat and it led to success for the Hornets. Eric Cichocki lined a single to center and Evan Marushak followed with his second hit of the day to give Emmaus a 1-0 lead.

Todd Moxey then lined a shot at third baseman Ethan Imler and it looked like Marushak would be doubled off first, but the throw sailed well past first baseman Matt Mellinger and Cichocki came in to score. Another error allowed Marushak to score, making it 3-0 Emmaus.

Parkland (3-2, 4-2) got a run back in the bottom of the inning and Emmaus wasn’t able to add any insurance runs in the seventh, leaving the score at 3-1 heading to the bottom of the inning.

Mihalik pulled starter Matt Lanzone when he hit a batter with one out in the inning. Mihalik went to Kellan Tulio, who was making his first appearance of the season after coming back from an injury. Tulio got a ground ball back to the mound for the second out, but then surrendered a base-hit through the middle making it 3-2. The final out came when Tulio got Jenkins to ground to short to end the game.

“The game plan was if one guy got on base in the seventh, I was going to go to Tulio, because we were coming up on the fourth time through the lineup,” said Mihalik. “I was going to bring in Kellan, it’s what we’ve been waiting for, for so long. I’m happy for Matt that we were able to get the win for him. He pitched a great game today.”

As for Lanzone, he wanted to finish the game, but understood his coach’s thinking and trusted his teammate to finish off the job.

“I was set on going seven, no matter what my pitch count was, I was definitely ready to go seven,” said Lanzone. “I just made a bad pitch and it was time for a change, because it was going to be the fourth time coming around, so a fresh arm was a good idea and it worked.”

Emmaus had a showdown with Freedom (4-0, 7-0) Tuesday, which was played after Press deadline. The Hornets also have a rematch with Parkland next Monday, so the win gives them some confidence and momentum going into the tough games.

“This was a big win and a statement, beating one of the best pitchers in the league at their field was a big statement,” said Lanzone. “It’s a big statement. Winning big games, all that does is carry over.

“Knowing that we beat this team here, and they’re one of the best teams, gives us confidence that we can beat other good teams.”

Cichocki and Taden Gery both finished with two hits for Emmaus, who picked up seven hits against Jenkins. The key was aggressiveness and taking advantage of a couple of miscues by Parkland to get the win.

“Runs are runs,” pointed out Lanzone. “Especially with Jenkins on the mound, we knew runs were going to be hard to come by, so any way we can get them, we’ll take it.”