Buzzard leads Monarchs past Coplay
Brad Buzzard of the Carbon Monarchs slides safely into second base during Wednesday’s Lehigh Valley Legion playoff game against Coplay. Covering second for Coplay is Austin Miller. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Brad Buzzard was like a superhero against Coplay Wednesday night at Lehighton Area High School.
Buzzard was 3-for-3 at the plate, including a home run and a triple. He knocked in six runs, stole a base, scored three times and caught two fly balls out in center field.
As a result, the third-seeded Monarchs opened the Lehigh Valley Legion postseason tournament with a dominating 11-1 win over No. 6 Coplay. Incidentally, it was a two-run single by Buzzard that produced the 10th and 11th runs to end the game in the fifth inning.
Asked what was responsible for his impressive outing, the smiling Panther Valley High School graduate simply replied, “I ate my Wheaties before I came here.”
Buzzard didn’t do it all by himself.
Ian Hubbard of Jim Thorpe, who followed Buzzard in the batting order, was also 3-for-3 with two RBIs. Leadoff hitter Jake Taras of Panther Valley was 2-for-3, including a double and two RBIs.
And then there was the showing by starting pitcher Justin Marykwas, a Jim Thorpe graduate who now plays for Lehigh Carbon Community College. Marykwas threw four scoreless innings, giving up just two hits and walking only one.
Donnie Rehrig, manager of the Monarchs, was quite thrilled with his team’s performance.
“I’m very happy with the way we played today,” Rehrig said, noting this was the third time the Monarchs faced Coplay this season. “You know how they say it’s hard to beat a team three times.”
Rehrig said the formula for winning wasn’t all that complex.
“We hit the ball, we got 11 hits, including a couple of extra basehits,” he said. “Solid base running. Solid defense. That’s what you need to do.”
Buzzard said all of his hits came on the same type of pitch.
“They were fastballs every time,” he said. “If it’s there, I’ll swing at it.”
His two-run blast in the fourth inning was his first home run in Senior Legion play.
Marykwas was able to target all his pitches: curves, sinkers and fast balls. He faced just 14 batters in his four innings of work.
The Monarchs took a 1-0 lead in the first when Buzzard walked, stole second, and scored on a Hubbard single.
The winners put together a five-run rally in the second, thanks to a two-run double by Taras and a two-run triple by Buzzard. Hubbard also added another RBI single.
Buzzard hit his two-run shot over the left-field fence in the fourth to make the score 8-0.
Rehrig was thrilled with the determination his team showed.
“The first run we scored in the first inning was with two outs,” said Rehrig. “It just goes to show the type of attitude our guys have. They just kept (battling).”
Coplay manager Ed Foster praised the Monarchs and jokingly said, “I guess this will be a one-sided article.”
Foster said the combination of big hits, a couple of errors and fine pitching was too much to overcome.
“We had one guy injured and another got here late, but I have to give the other team a lot of credit,” said Foster.
PROUD OF HIS PITCHERS ... Rehrig said he was very pleased with the performance by Marykwas. “Our pitching was pretty solid all year. I think we gave up the second-fewest runs in the league.”
STRANDED RUNNERS ... The Monarchs had baserunners in every inning, but left one runner stranded in each frame.
NEXT UP ... Tonight, the Monarchs play second-seeded North Parkland at Orefield Middle School.
Coplay 000 01 - 1 5 2
Monarchs 150 23 - 11 11 0
Lisicky, Torres (4) and Bilder; Marykwas, Berger (5) and Hubbard. W - Marykwas. L - Lisicky. HR: Carbon - Buzzard (4th, one on).