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Lehigh 12U downs North Bethlehem

Lehigh Little League’s 12U all-stars exploded with eight runs in the third inning against North Bethlehem for a 10-1 victory in the PA District 20 tournament last Monday night at North Bethlehem.

“Once our three hitter, Brayden Kashner, hit it, then we started to hit the ball,” said winning pitcher Andrew Erfle.

After a quiet start for both teams, Kashner hit a solo home run to put Lehigh on the scoreboard first.

Lehigh outfielder David Dunham led off the third inning with a base hit to center field that initially appeared to be caught.

“I was on first, and then I saw it fall out of his glove,” Dunham said. “It felt good, I guess, but I kind of felt bad because it should’ve been an out.”

Ben Miller followed up with a bunt single, and a three-run home run by Willie Cruz stretched the lead, 4-0.

“Quite honestly, before we hit in that third inning, I got into the kids a little bit,” said Lehigh manager Mike Kashner. “We had to wake up and start playing quickly because Andrew was throwing really, really well, and I didn’t want to waste that. He pounded strikes in the zone and kept them off balance. Once Dunham got on, we laid down a good bunt to get him over and then Willie, that was a two-strike home run he hit. That gave us some breathing room.”

Erfle had a hit to center, Kashner walked, Marco Sciarra hit a ground ball that got past the infield, J.T. Solano singled, and Will Cresci had an RBI single to center field. Gio Sciarra had a base hit, Liam Parry walked, and Cruz singled, all in the third inning.

“Everyone was excited,” said Dunham.

North Bethlehem scored its run in the top of the fifth inning when Pablo Nieves singled, Aidan Brown hit a line drive up the middle, and Nieves scored on a passed ball.

In the bottom of the fifth, Cresci had a base hit and got to second on a bad throw, and Ben Miller’s RBI scored Cresci for Lehigh’s 10th run.

Erfle threw 12 strikeouts, and Cruz came in to relieve in the sixth inning, retiring the side in order with two strikeouts and a ground out.

“My two-seam fastball and curveball [were working],” said Erfle. “We showed up earlier and we hit at our field, and I probably got 15 or 20 pitches in before the game. I just went up there, trying to be confident, and tried to hit the ball as good as I could.”

Press photo by Mark Kirlin Lehigh 12U player Willie Cruz slides safely into third base during a recent game.
Brayden Kashner and Willie Cruz celebrate coming off the field.