Nothstein’s HR lifts Northern Valley to win
Northern Valley’s Owen Schoch tags out Brandon Robinson of Lower Macungie during Wednesday’s LVL playoff game. DON HERB/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
MACUNGIE — Northern Valley’s Eric Nothstein spent all of Wednesday’s game roaming left field for the Chargers on defense.
In the seventh inning, he took another trip to left field — this one on offense.
Nothstein blasted a go-ahead two-run home run in the top of the seventh that lifted No. 5 Northern Valley over No. 4 Lower Macungie, 6-4, in the first round of the Lehigh Valley Legion playoffs. The homer accounted for his third and fourth RBIs of the night.
“That at-bat, I just knew I had to put the ball in play,” Nothstein said. “I was just looking to hit the ball hard somewhere. I knew if we got at least one run and gave Ryan [King] the lead, he’d be able to come in and shut it down.
“He missed with the first two fastballs high, so I figured he’d come with a third one and try to get it down a little. And I took it.”
Nothstein’s hit landed just over the left field wall, just feet away from where he occupied the outfield for seven innings. It was his second homer in five days after hitting one against Emmaus on Saturday.
King then closed out his complete-game effort, shutting down the Mustangs with a one-two-three seventh inning.
“It was a dogfight throughout the entire game, and that hit really put me ahead in the game,” said King, who allowed six hits and struck out nine. “It told me to just throw strikes because we had this game.”
Northern Valley jumped in front 1-0 in the third inning on an RBI single from Justin Holmes. But the lead was short-lived.
In large part due to three Charger errors, Lower Mac scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth to gain its first lead at 2-1. After Ryan Kasye was hit by a pitch to start the inning, he stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. He scored after Vincent Viola reached base on another Charger error in the next at-bat.
Shane Martrich singled to left to score Brian Horoshko that same inning, but King and the Chargers never let up, retaking the lead with three runs in the fifth.
“I think the biggest thing that kept us in the game was Ryan’s pitching,” Nothstein said. “Ryan kept them off-balance the whole game. He dominated out there, which he does almost every time he goes out.”
Nothstein was at the center of the comeback. After striking out in his first two at-bats, he ripped a fifth-inning single into right that scored Colten Hagadus and Derek Holmes. Luke Eitner brought home another Charger run in the frame.
“It felt good because in the beginning of the year, I really struggled,” Nothstein said. “And even last year, I wasn’t really hitting the ball as well as I knew I could. I changed a few things. There’s less movement in my swing. It’s finally starting to come around.”
Lower Mac scored a run in the fifth and sixth to tie the game at 4-4, before Nothstein put the Chargers in front for good.
BALANCED ATTACK ... Seven Chargers recorded hits, including King and Nothstein with two apiece, while Nothstein and Holmes both scored twice.
WHAT’S NEXT? ... The win advances NV to a winner’s bracket semifinal against top-seeded South Parkland today. The Chargers lost both games to unbeaten South Parkland in the regular season, but both were close contests. Game time is set for 5:45 p.m. at Parkland High School. “Our first game against them we only lost 2-1, so we know that we can beat them,” said King. “They are a really good team. They are stacked. Every guy can hit, and you have to focus in on every single pitch and every out.”
Northern Vy. 001 030 2 - 6 9 3
Lower Mac 000 211 0 - 4 6 0
King and Rudolph; Horton, Hertzog (5) and Diaz. W - King. L - Horton.