Hornets edge Zephs
After a pair of 2-0 wins to open the season, the Emmaus offense has been starting to find a little bit of its groove. The Hornets downed Pottsville 5-1 in a non-conference game Saturday and found themselves in their freewheeling offensive game of the year in a 9-8 win over Whitehall Monday.
The game against the Zephyrs entered the seventh inning tied 8-8. Keegan Nytz led off the seventh by being hit by a pitch and one out later, Jude Negron singled to put runners on first and second. A fielder’s choice moved the runners up a base and Kellan Tulio drew a walk to load the bases for Justus Darville with two outs. Darville showed patience at the plate and worked a five-pitch walk to push Nytz across the plate with what would be the winning run.
The amazing part of the game was that while Emmaus pounded out 12 hits, Whitehall picked up eight runs on just two hits and was aided by three Emmaus errors and 11 walks issued by four Hornets’ pitchers. Both numbers were a surprise considering that Emmaus had played good defense through its first three games of the season and Emmaus pitchers had been throwing strikes.
Negron and Brandon Robinson each had two hits and an RBI against Whitehall, with both of Robinson’s hits being doubles. Wyatt Henseler also hit a first-inning solo home run to give Emmaus an early lead.
Against Northampton, Kellan Tulio took a perfect game into the sixth inning before issuing a one-out walk to Justin Taylor. Tulio exited after the sixth and Negron threw a shutout seventh inning, allowing a walk and a double, but getting the final two outs to strand runners on second and third.
“They told me once we hit the fourth inning that I had a perfect game going, but I just go out and pitch; if you walk somebody, it is what it is,” said Tulio.
Tulio also helped his own cause in the first inning when he stepped to the plate with runners on first and second and two outs and blasted a ball to center field that dropped for a double to drive in the game’s only runs.
Coach Jeremy Haas was happy with his team’s performance through the first couple of games and turned out to be prophetic about the offense. “Early in the year, pitching is always ahead of hitting, but our offense will get going soon. It’s not a lack of effort or lack of approach, it’s just early in the year and getting guys going and that will happen over the next few days.”
With a 4-0 start, 3-0 in the EPC, Emmaus is set for its first showdown of the season with Parkland (4-0, 3-0) Wednesday at Church Lane. Most figure on the two teams finishing one-two in the EPC and possibly in districts as well. Tulio is set to start for Emmaus, but Parkland’s top pitcher, Adam Smith, threw six innings for the Trojans on Monday in their 9-0 win over Nazareth, which will at least limit how much he could pitch against Emmaus. It’s likely that the Trojans will turn to one of their other starters, although coach Kurt Weber was noncommittal following Monday’s game. No matter who Parkland turns to, Tulio believes that Emmaus is the team to beat this season.
“We’ve got the team to win this year, we’ve definitely got the team,” Tulio said. “You have to keep a steady head and not get too high or too low, just go with it and get to work every day, make sure you have a good day of practice and then execute in the games every day. It’s really all you can do.”