Posted on June 18, 2021 at 11:09 p.m.
Northern Valley’s Shaun O’Donnell definitely had an unforgettable evening on Friday.
What he accomplished in Connie Mack’s 10-4 Chargers win over North Parkland may never have been done before in the same game.
The left-handed pitcher not only struck out four batters in an inning, but he also hit a grand slam to help his own cause.
After the win, which took Northern Valley’s record to 5-3, he couldn’t decide which one he liked the most – so he said the most logical thing.
âI’ll take both,â said O’Donnell, who allowed just two hits and a walk while finishing with 10 strikeouts in five innings of work. âIt’s just great to be here to play baseball. We have a great team. Everyone has good sportsmanship, and I like it.
âMy fastball was working, getting it in and out. And then my curved balls, they sank into the earth and they swing on them. I’ll take this all the time.
He will also benefit from the race support, which he and the rest of the team provided during a six-point third round.
With the game tied at 4-4, with North Parkland‘s four runs undeserved due to four errors, the Chargers definitely took the lead by hitting into the pivot frame.
After a mistake early in the set, singles from Josh Lichman and Bobby Croneberger produced the go-ahead score. Another hit from Jackson VanNorman loaded the bases for O’Donnell, who had struggled at home plate.
The southpaw, however, got a 3-1 pitch to drive and crushed him down center-right to clear the bases.
âUsually with a 3-1 pitch you want to make good contact and put the ball into play,â O’Donnell said. âIt was sweet. I had a pitch right in the middle … The coach was telling me to go, so just turn the bases and put the wheels on.
âWe got him out of a crisis, hopefully today,â said Northern Valley head coach Erich Kline. âHe’s got a good swing, but he just had some tough hits. This is probably only his second or third success of the year. He swings well in the cage. Its mechanics are good, and we always preach to stay with your mechanics.
O’Donnell’s mechanics on the mound were even better.
While not too powerful, he located his fastball in all parts of the strike zone and his misses were right off the plate.
âI have a habit of throwing to touch, hammering the strike zone and if they hit it, they hit it,â O’Donnell said. âI trust my defensive player is there.
âHe always gives us a big push on the mound,â Kline said. “I like the way he attacks hitters.”
The Chargers mentor, now in his 21st season, also loved the big round that virtually sealed the win.
âWe ended up getting some key hits, which we’ve been missing out on in the last couple of games,â Kline said. âWe changed the batting order guys a bit because we didn’t score any runsâ¦ just to try and create some chemistry. I think it worked a bit.
BUSY SCHEDULE … Northern Valley has four games over the next seven days. The Chargers welcome a strong South Parkland team today before entertaining Coplay on Monday. Then they hit the road for games at Salisbury on Wednesday and Stroudsburg on Friday.
FINISH … Wesley George scored a scoreless sixth, dropping one to close the game. George has also reached base in his three home plate appearances with one hit and two walks.
NOT MORE THAN ONE … Ten different players each scored a point for Northern Valley. On top of that, the Chargers’ seven hits came from seven players.
GALORE STRIKEOUTS … O’Donnell’s four strikeouts were in the first inning. On the first strikeout, the batter struck a passed ball. He then stoked the next three hitters.
North Park 121,000 – 4 2 4
North Valley 316,000 – 10 7 4
Ondrejca, Treese (3), Brunner (5) and Egge, Rosa (3); O’Donnell, George (6) and VanNorman. W – O’Donnell. L – Treese. HR: Northern Valley – O’Donnell (3rd, three out).
Northern Valley’s Shaun O’Donnell relaxes with a pitch in Friday’s game against North Parkland. RON GOWER / SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS