Northamp­ton U11s bat­tles back to take Dis­trict 30

The Advance of Bucks County - - SPORTS - By John Glee­son

The fate of the Northamp­ton Un­der-11 dis­trict base­ball team cer­tainly fol­lows the wis­dom of Yogi Berra when he said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

The tal­ented and de­ter­mined boys in gray def­i­nitely flexed their di­a­mond mus­cles as they roared through pool play in the Dis­trict 30 cham­pi­onship play­offs. They outscored their op­po­nents by a 40-7 mar­gin. In record­ing a per­fect 3-0 mark, they dom­i­nated New­town by a 12-1 score, de­feated War­wick 11-8, and crushed Hol­land, 17-8. Boast­ing those im­pres­sive of­fen­sive stats, Northamp­ton rightly earned the nick­name “the Bombers.”

The pro­hib­i­tive fa­vorite when the ac­tual play­offs started, Northamp­ton cer­tainly lived up to their name as they beat Le­nape Val­ley 12-0 in a game stopped af­ter four in­nings due to the mercy rule. Left­fielder Jake Barder swung the hot Louisville as the Bombers struck early.

With one down in the first, Barder lined a solid dou­ble to left. He moved to third on Bubba Wilkin­son’s sin­gle and scur­ried home on Shane Wal­ter’s sac­ri­fice fly to cen­ter. Start­ing pitcher Mike Rabayda then aided his own cause by sin­gling home Wilkin­son.

In the bot­tom of the frame, Northamp­ton proved they were not just a prover­bial “good hit, no field” kind of team. The Le­nape Val­ley lead­off man dou­bled to start the in­ning. He was quickly erased when the next bat­ter grounded out to first. Rather than re­main­ing con­tent with a sin­gle out, first sacker Wal­ter fired across the di­a­mond to Luke Gre­gory who nailed the slid­ing Le­nape run­ner for the un­con­ven­tional twin killing.

The Bombers went im­me­di­ately back to work in the top of the sec­ond as Gre­gory led off with a sin­gle and Jack Reb­holz fol­lowed with a walk. Af­ter Nick Gallo grounded into a force out at sec­ond, the hot-hit­ting Jake Barder strode to the plate and promptly dou­bled home two more runs.

With Mike Rabayda us­ing both craft and ac­cu­racy on the mound to keep Le­nape Val­ley at bay, the Bombers quickly got an­other shot to erupt in the top of the third. Wal­ter sin­gled to right. Af­ter Rabayda flied out, Emilio Pallante sin­gled. Catcher Luke Meakim dou­bled home Wal­ter. Gre­gory fol­lowed, plat­ing pinch run­ner Joey Danko with a sin­gle. Gallo closed out the scor­ing in the third, dou­bling in two more runs.

The rout con­tin­ued in the fourth in­ning when Wal­ter reached safely on a throw­ing er­ror. Rabayda showed he had legs to match his strong pitch­ing arm by beat­ing out an in­field sin­gle. Pallante loaded the bases with a bunt sin­gle. Meakim took full ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­nity and bat­ted in two more tal­lies with a sin­gle. Af­ter Reb­holz sin­gled, Barder com­pleted his per­fect 4-for4 day, blast­ing his third dou­ble of the day, send­ing both Meakim and Reb­holz home.

The con­vinc­ing 12-0 win set up a sec­ond round con­test with the ever danger­ous War­wick team, win­ners of last year’s Dis­trict 30 Un­der-10 play­offs. The Bombers seemed un­fazed by the War­wick pro­gram’s rep­u­ta­tion. It ap­peared the only thing Northamp­ton could not win was the coin toss de­ter­min­ing the home team.

Play­ing the role of vis­i­tors, they un­leashed a dis­play of raw slug­ging abil­ity in the top of the first. Nick Gallo led off and poled the sec­ond pitch of the game deep over the right field fence. Jake Barder fol­lowed with

Mike Rabayda makes the putout at first base.

Luke Gre­gory goes for high throw at third base.

Luke Meakim tags out slid­ing War­wick baserun­ner.

Short­stop Jack Reb­holz scoops up a ground ball.

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