BASEBALL: Northern Lebanon wins fifth straight
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The Northern Lebanon baseball team is on a definite roll. The Vikings' string of shutout innings reached 24 Friday afternoon before Lebanon got to NL starter Wyatt Beakler for three fifth-inning runs in L-L League Section Three play at Coleman Park.
By that time, the Vikes were enjoying a 7-0 lead.
They had to settle for merely their fifth straight victory with a convincing 10-4 win that featured a six-run first inning. Junior center fielder Isaac Wengert went 3-for-3 with a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored and senior left fielder Luke Sonnen drove in four runs with a single and double as NL's offense upstaged its pitching and defense.
Senior southpaws Jordan Nichols, who blanked Annville-Cleona earlier this week, and Beakler are taking turns on the mound for NL. Skipper Daryl Hess is having a good time with this team, which is now 9-5 overall and 8-3 in league.
In his 20 years in charge, he said he can't remember a better run.
"I have a book where I write down all of our scores," he said. "After our third straight shutout, I said, 'Hey, that's three in a row.' I don't think I ever did that before. Jordan and Wyatt are a pretty good pair to run out there."
The Vikes were well on their way after posting six runs in the first. Singles by Beakler, Noah Gingrich and Chase Dubendorf and a walk to Nichols preceded a two-run double by Wengert. Sonnen followed with a two-run single and scored on Zane Merkel's single to effectively end Lebanon starter Michel DeLeon's day on the mound.
Coach Mike Toomey went to junior Collin Minerick in the second, but the damage was already done as Lebanon frll to 5-10 overall and 4-8 in league.
Beakler, meanwhile, struck out the side in the first. Two NL errors in the second led to two more strikeouts. By the time Lebanon got to him in the fifth, Beakler had seven Ks on his way to 12 for the game with one walk.
"Wyatt's curveball was working good in the beginning," said Dubendorf, the Vikes' junior catcher who calls all the pitches. "When they started timing his curve, he started going to his change up, which threw them off again."
Beakler said it was a good outing, but not one of his best. He threw better in a 4-3 loss at Elco earlier in the season when NL errors and lack of offense did him in.
"I didn't have my best stuff today," he said. "I was getting by on curves and change ups. It was a little windy, but that didn't bother me. I just didn't have a very good fastball today. When you have a six-run lead in the first, it makes it a lot easier."
Lebanon's three-run fifth started with a double by junior second baseman Logan Blouch. Catcher Dharlim Vasquez singled, with Minerick rolling an RBI grounder through the right side hole for an RBI. When the NL right fielder threw the ball out of play, Lebanon had two runs in and a runner on third. Minerick then scored on an error.
NL answered with three in the sixth on a single by freshman Hayden Johnson, Dubendorf's RBI double, a walk to Wengert and Sonnen's two-run double.
Lebanon managed a single tally in the seventh when Austin Yerger reached on an error and DeLeon delivered a double to left center.
Hess said the offensive output was good to see.
"We came through with some timely hits today, which hasn't always been the case," he said. "Luke Sonnen came up big for us. Everybody hit the ball today for us, but Lebanon hit the ball hard, too."
Nine Vikings reached base on a hit or walk in their 13-hit attack. Lebanon totaled eight hits with Vasquez leading the way at 2-for-3.
Dubendorf sees good things ahead for the Vikings.
"Our pitching's really coming on strong," he said. "There's not much difference between Jordan and Wyatt. Both are really solid. They're pitching equally well."
The Vikes are a game out of first in Section Three with games against Cocalico, Manheim Central and Donegal coming up next week.
Northern Lebanon 10, Lancaster Mennonite 4
Northern Lebanon 600 013 0 — 10 13 6 Lebanon 000 030 1 — 4 8 1
W — Beakler; L — DeLeon;
SO-BB — NL - Beakler (12 K, 1 BB), L - DeLeon (1 K, 1 BB), Minerick (2 K, 4 BB), Yerger (0 K, 1 BB)
2B — NL - Wengert (1), Dubendorf (1), Sonnen (1), L - Kissinger (1), Blouch (1), DeLeon (1)
3B — n/a
HR - n/a