Knights fall to Bucks in District semis

TOWAMENCIN – It was a tough afternoon for the North Penn Knights Baseball squad. 

The Knights (#2 seed) clashed with the Bucks (#14 seed) for the right to play on Thursday for the District One Championship. In a game that was one-sided the entire way, the Knights surrendered 14 runs, losing to CB West, 14-1. 

“Truthfully, today was an anomaly,” shared Knights’ head coach Kevin Manero. “It’s really the only time this year that we’ve just gotten beaten in every facet of the game from beginning to the end.”

The game got off to a slow start, with both pitchers retiring all three batters faced. The first inning is the only time the Bucks’ bats were kept quiet the entire game. 

CB West got a leadoff double in the top of the second inning, and that would be all they needed to start a rally. The Bucks then got back-to-back singles to open up the scoring, leading 1-0 with runners on the corners and nobody out. Following a flyout and an RBI single from Jack Hogenauer, the Bucks took a 2-0 lead. Kevin Bukowski hit next, and he crushed a ball over the wall in left-field, giving CB West a 5-0 lead. 

North Penn hoped to respond in the bottom of the inning. After two of the first three batters reached base for the Knights, the next two were retired to end the inning. 

In the top of the third, West struck again. Picking up three singles and a sacrifice fly in the inning, the Bucks stretched the lead out to 7-0, continuing to dominate this game. 

Following yet another quick inning from the Knights’ offense, Central Bucks tacked on another run in the top of the fourth on an RBI single from Sam Greer, extending the lead to 8-0. 

Showing some signs of life in the bottom of the fourth, the Knights got a leadoff double from Chase Jones. After the next two batters were retired, North Penn’s best hitter so far in the postseason came through again. James Magine picked up yet another base hit and another RBI to give the Knights their first run of the ballgame. The Knights would pick up another single by Luke Chartrand, but would strand the two runners on base. 

Trailing by seven after four innings, the game was seemingly still in striking distance for North Penn. However, in the top of the fifth inning, CB West ensured that a comeback would be almost impossible for the Knights. 

Opening up the top of the fifth, West picked up four straight hits to extend the lead to 10-1. Still with nobody out, the Bucks had two runners in scoring position. Bill Zentmayer drove in two runs on a single, continuing what was a major inning for the Central Bucks offense. The Bucks tallied six total runs in the inning, stretching the lead to 14-1. 

Needing to score four runs to stay alive in the ballgame, the Knights were unable to get a baserunner in the bottom of the fifth, and the game would end after the fifth inning. 

As tough as this game was for a North Penn squad that has played great baseball all season, Coach Manero is still confident in his team’s chances of winning a state championship. 

Said Manero: “None of our state championships have resulted in a district title before that. We’re very well-versed in the fact that if you give yourself a chance to have a second chance, you can take advantage of that. That’s what we plan to do.”

Continuing to discuss the importances of already earning a state tournament bid, Manero talked about how the team will move on from this game and prepare for what could be an entertaining run for the Knights.

“You just gotta turn the scoreboard off as soon as the game is over and forget about it,” added Manero. “You look at it as a day that you throw out because it doesn’t mesh with the whole body work. We play Thursday and we have just under a week to be playing our best baseball again.”

The Knights will return to action again on Thursday against the fifth-seeded Plymouth Whitemarsh Colonials to battle for third place in the District One Tournament.