The Knight Crier

Knights clinch SOL Continental Conference Championship 13-3

BASEBALL-+Junior+Joe+Valenti+pitched+a+complete+game+in+the+Knights+13-3+victory+over+Souderton+on+Tuesday%2C+May+7th+2018.
BASEBALL- Junior Joe Valenti pitched a complete game in the Knights 13-3 victory over Souderton on Tuesday, May 7th 2018.

BASEBALL- Junior Joe Valenti pitched a complete game in the Knights 13-3 victory over Souderton on Tuesday, May 7th 2018.

Anissa Gardizy

Anissa Gardizy

BASEBALL- Junior Joe Valenti pitched a complete game in the Knights 13-3 victory over Souderton on Tuesday, May 7th 2018.

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TOWAMENCIN – “Winning a conference title in this league is tough. I told the guys before the game, sometimes winning the conference title is one of the toughest things to do. You see teams twice, they know who you are, it gets to be a real dog fight,” said head coach Kevin Manero.

The North Penn Knights (14-2, 11-0) faced the Souderton Indians  (10-6 7-5) on a sunny afternoon, and it was not the dramatic dog fight that tends to occur during championship games. The last time the two teams faced each other was on a snowy afternoon, and North Penn took a dominant win 13-1. This time, the only difference was the weather, as North Penn ended up hitting a walkoff RBI in the bottom of the sixth, winning the Suburban One Continental Conference Championship with an impressive 13-3 victory.

Junior Joe Valenti started on the mound for the Knights and pitched a complete game. Souderton got on the board early on as Luke Shank smashed the ball to left field, bringing home Conlan Wall from second. The Knights escaped only allowing one run, ending the inning with a double play.

The Knights had no answer for the Indians as they faced pitcher Jordan Morales in the bottom of the first. But North Penn kept Souderton to one run in the second inning with another double play, a defensive effort that really mattered.

“We have talked about the need to make routine plays. Early in the game, if a ball sneaks through here or there, it’s a very, very different game,” commented Manero on the Knights back to back double plays, “We minimized the damage early on and played some really good defense.”

We have talked about the need to make routine plays. Early in the game, if a ball sneaks through here or there, it’s a very, very different game”

— Kevin Manero

“The double plays gave us a huge momentum swing, and we carried that momentum and kept going. It allowed us to separate ourselves and just have a great day,” said first baseman Billy Collins.

The Knights’ defensive prowess early on had to wait for the third inning before the bats caught up with the energy. Morales walked Rob Weiss, and soon the bases were loaded as Tyler Siddal and Jake Drelick both got hits. Zach Miles recorded the first RBI of the day, and with no outs, the Knights kept scoring. Siddal and courtesy runner Griffon Juckniewitz both scored on two wild pitches, and North Penn left the third inning ahead 3-1.

Valenti kept Souderton off of the board for four straight innings.

“Joe was big time today. He threw all three pitches today for strikes, had a little bit of trouble early on with the breaking ball, but he really made some good adjustments,” noted Manero.

North Penn had another big outing in the bottom of the fifth, scoring 6 of their 13 runs and running through their whole line up. Collins earned his first RBI double with a deep hit to center field.

“Yesterday we were preaching to drive the ball gap to gap, and today we brought it onto the field and drove it gap to gap,” explained Collins.

Yesterday we were preaching to drive the ball gap to gap, and today we brought it onto the field and drove it gap to gap”

— Billy Collins

Atlee Hasson bunted and after Morales walked Ryan Bealer, Hunter Hamlin was looking at the bases loaded. Hamlin followed through with a RBI, and he was followed by Weiss who did the same. Souderton switched to Andrew Curran on the mound, but that didn’t stop two more wild pitches that brought Bealer and Weiss home. The Knights left the 5th inning doing some serious damage to the score as they led 9-1.

“We have been doing a good job of staying in the strike zone and not swinging at balls. Morales is a very tough left handed pitcher, but I thought we did a really good job of being patient. I give our guys a lot of credit for some really good at bats,” said Manero.

The Indians tried to make up the deficit in the top of the sixth with two RBI, but they still trailed 9-3 as the Knights got ready for another big inning. After 6 consecutive balls to start the inning, Collins smashed his second RBI double, putting the Knights ahead 10-3.

“Billy Collins is swinging the bat better now than he has all year,” explained Manero about Collins who drove in two runs in the Knights’ 13-3 rout.

Billy Collins is swinging the bat better now than he has all year”

— Kevin Manero

Bealer added to the board, bringing courtesy runner Connor Mikulski home. A RBI from Siddal  and a walkoff RBI from Drelick ended the game and secured the Knights the Suburban One Continental Conference Championship 13-3

“This is all a product of winning one pitch at a time, and playing good fundamental baseball. If you do those things, you ultimately get where you want to go,” reflected Manero on the Knights championship victory.

“It feels awesome, our hard work paid off and it showed on the field today,” said Collins.

The Knights will travel to Central Bucks South this Thursday at 3:30 for another conference matchup.

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Knights clinch SOL Continental Conference Championship 13-3