Mustangs cool off in tourney
Lower Macungie entered the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in Lehigh Valley Legion. After a furious second-half charge, Lower Macungie wound up on the losing end in its two playoffs games and being bounced from the LVL playoffs in surprising fashion.
The Mustangs came into the postseason seeded fourth and faced a tough Northern Valley team in the first round. After a stumble in late June and early July, Northern Valley was arguably just as hot late in the year and coming into the playoffs as was Lower Macungie, leading to a good first round contest.
Trailing 1-0, Lower Macungie took advantage of a hit batter and two errors to come up with two fourth inning runs. Ryan Kasye opened the inning by getting hit by a pitch and would eventually score when Jaden Diaz reached on an error. Shane Martrich then singled to drive home Brian Horoshko and put Lower Mac up 2-1.
Unfortunately, the Mustangs couldn’t shut down the Chargers in the top of the fifth, but came back with single runs in the fifth and sixth to tie the game 6-4. Ian Hertzog led off the fifth with a single and courtesy runner Joseph Marrero scored when Nikolas Rodriguez doubled to right.
An inning later, Horoshko led off with a hard-hit infield single and one out later, Martrich singled to put runners on the corners. An error on a ball hit to third by Everett Horton brought home Horoshko to tie the game.
Again though, the Mustangs couldn’t shut down Northern Valley, who went up 6-4 on a two-run home run by Eric Nothstein in the seventh and Ryan King put Lower Macungie down in order in the bottom of the seventh to notch the win.
Lower Macungie then faced eighth-seeded Emmaus and after trailing 3-0, battled back, but ultimately lost when the Hornets added a fourth run in the top of the fifth. The Mustangs responded with two in the bottom of the inning, but lost the game 4-3.
Six different players collected hits for Lower Macungie with Martrich and Brandon Robinson driving in runs. Vincent Viola came on in relief and threw four innings, allowing just one unearned run in the effort, striking out four batters.
Ian Hertzog led the team in hitting with a .353 average and Braden Waller was next in line with a .333 average on the year. Ryan Kasye was the only player on the team to play in all 18 games and he also finished the season hitting .333 with seven RBI and a team-leading 15 runs scored.
Waller had a breakout year in the high school season and added another 18 innings to his total with Lower Macungie, allowing just five earned runs for a 1.94 ERA on the year. He and James Hamilton tied for the team lead in wins with two. Viola also threw 18 innings in five appearances, including two starts. Viola also finished with a 1.94 ERA. Hamilton picked up the only save of the season for the Mustangs.
Lower Macungie finished the regular season 9-7, but fell to 9-9 with their two playoff losses.