East Penn Press

Sunday, September 23, 2018
PRESS PHOTO BY ANDY MOXEYEmmaus’ outfielder Evan Marushak had three hits and scored four times in last week’s win over Nazareth. PRESS PHOTO BY ANDY MOXEYEmmaus’ outfielder Evan Marushak had three hits and scored four times in last week’s win over Nazareth.

Hornets hang 20 runs on Nazareth

Thursday, May 10, 2018 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

The plan was for Emmaus and Northampton to play their Eastern Pennsylvania Conference game at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, New York, the site of the Baseball Hall of Fame. The weather didn’t cooperate and left the teams to just hang out at the soggy field dreaming about what it might have been like to play there. Fortunately, there are a lot of other things to do in Cooperstown, not the least of which is a tour through the Hall of Fame museum.

“It was a good trip and if nothing else, we got to see the Hall of Fame, which was really cool,” said coach Mike Mihalik. “It’s a really neat town and the shops were awesome. The field was awesome. It was just disappointing we didn’t get an opportunity to play.”

The team returned from the field trip and struggled offensively against both Easton and Northampton. The pitching also struggled in a 14-2 loss in the makeup game with the Konkrete Kids and Emmaus fell to 11-4 on the season.

Then came what may be the game of the season. Playing at Nazareth, the Hornets seemingly took out some frustrations and jumped out to an 11-0 lead after four innings.

The Blue Eagles didn’t write it off as a loss and instead of just going quietly in the bottom of the fifth and suffering a mercy rule loss to Emmaus, they came up with seven runs of their own. From there on, it was a slugfest for the two teams, which combined to score eight runs in both the sixth and seventh innings with Emmaus getting a 20-14 win.

Emmaus pounded out 23 hits in the game with Wyatt Henseler going 6-for-6 with four RBI. Brandon Robinson was 3-for-6 with two RBI and scored three runs, Evan Marushak had three hits with four runs scored and Kellan Tulio, Ryan Kasye and Keegan Nytz all had two hits with Tiulio driving in three runs.

“I don’t believe any of us have ever been involved in a game like that,” said Mihalik. “Our starters were unbelievable offensively to start the game off and then our pitching early on was great and then some of our bullpen guys struggled. Nazareth did a great job of coming back and they made a game of it and we had to put some starters back in there and they did a great job the second time coming in and scoring more. Not that other guys didn’t do a good job, but the starters were unbelievable. It was the best performance that I’ve seen from our starting nine all year.”

The old saying goes that hitting is contagious and Mihalik hopes that the 20-run outburst is just what his team needed to get things headed back in the right direction. They followed up the win over Nazareth with a 9-2 win against Whitehall.

“We did okay tonight [against Whitehall],” he said. “We hit pretty well and it was a pretty balanced production. We didn’t have any one guy with three hits, but everyone was having good at-bats. I hope it’s contagious and I hope we stay hot.”

The regular season wraps up this week with the EPC playoffs starting next week and the District 11 playoffs the following week. Finding their offensive stroke now would be perfect timing to carry them through the playoffs. The team does have some things to work on, with baserunning being near the top of the list, but Mihalik can’t really find a reason to not be pleased with the overall play of his team.

“The issues that we have are all fixable with some practices and I think we’ll be able to work on those,” said Mihalik. “I do like where we’re at. What coach isn’t going to be pleased with an offensive performance where you score 20 runs?

“I think we’ll have our pitching rotation set up and I think offensively we’ll be feeling good. I have to be feeling pretty good going into playoffs. We’re in a very fortunate place where we can get our pitching rotation set and that’s a good thing.”