NEW ENTERPRISE - Ten days had passed since the Inter-County Conference's South Division champion Northern Bedford Panthers baseball team last set foot on the diamond to play a game.
They were able to shake off the rust with relative ease, and were able to add another championship to the trophy case in the process.
The Panthers capitalized on a six-run bottom of the fifth inning to capture the Inter-County Conference championship with an 8-0 Logan Fluke shutout over the ICC's North Division champion Mount Union on Tuesday at Replogle Field.
Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich
Northern Bedford’s Logan Fluke tossed a two-hitter against Mount Union.
Northern Bedford coach David McIlnay couldn't have been happier with how his team responded after the long layoff.
"I was a little nervous at first, but these kids work hard every day," he said. "It was a matter of me being nervous, not them."
The Panthers drew first blood in the bottom of the first inning as Issac Stern smacked a one-out double. He scored when Fluke reached on a throwing error, which allowed Northern to take a 1-0 lead.
The story of the game, though, ultimately came in the form of Fluke. The Panther pitcher managed to toss a complete game in which he silenced the Trojan bats to just two hits. McIlnay was pleased with the play of his hurler after having tossed 20 pitches in the first inning, 12 of which came in one at- bat.
"He definitely did a great job for us," McIlnay said. "He settled down and was able to mix up his pitches."
Fluke felt the adrenaline was taking care of him early.
"I let the adrenaline take care of myself," he said. "I kept trying to tell myself no lead is a good lead."
The Panther hurler managed to make the lead good after all, and the defense was able to prevent the Trojans from touching third base on the day.
"The guys know what they can do," Fluke said.
After carrying a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, the flood gates opened. The Panther offense went on the attack scoring six runs which were capped off by a Matt Sollenberger two-run double which sealed the decision for the Panthers at 8-0.
"We struggled a bit there in the beginning," McIlnay said. "But I was happy to see us get the bats going and score runs."
Mount Union coach Nick Imperioli was disappointed with his teams' efforts
"We couldn't get our hits," he said. "We made some bad plays which put us behind."
Fluke and his teammates were ready to get back out on the field and are now looking to build on the momentum. The Panthers will travel to Williamsburg today before completing the regular season with a doubleheader Thursday at Chestnut Ridge.
"It's nice to get two games after coming off of a week of not having games," Fluke said. "It will definitely help keep the momentum going."
MOUNT UNION (0): Brown c 300, Wakefield 2b 301, McClain 1b 301, Walker ss 200, Kylor p-cf 200, Stapleton p 000, Heffner cf-p 301, Rogers 3b 300, Morgan rf 200, McMullen lf 000, H. Atherton dh 200. Totals - 23-0-2.
NORTHERN BEDFORD (8): J. Stern ss 401, Sollenberger 412, I. Stern 423, Grace 1b 300, Ebersole cr 000, Fluke 411, Foor 3b 412, Diehl rf 310, Furry c 312, England lf 210. Totals - 30-8-11.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Mount Union000 000 0 - 0 2 1
Northern Bedford101 060 X - 8 11 1
E - Walker; Furry. 2B -I. Stern 2. RBI - J. Stern, Sollenberger 2, I. Stern 2, Foor, Diehl, Furry 2.
Mount Union-Kylor (L): 3 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 0 SO. Stapleton: 2 IP, 6 R, 6 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 2 SO. Heffner: 1 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 SO.
Northern Bedford- Fluke (W ): 7 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 6 SO.
Records: Northern Bedford (15-2)