The semifinals of the NORCO legion playoffs turned out to be a bracket buster, as two of the top seeds in the eight-team tournament were eliminated over the weekend.
Top-seeded Birches (18-6) and third-seeded Bath (16-8), the favorites to reach this week's finals, fell in sweeping fashion last week to Easton and Nazareth to set up a NORCO final against the two regional rivals.
Easton (17-8), the fifth seed, swept Birches with a 6-4 win in game one and a 5-2 series clincher in the second game of the best-of-three series Sunday.
The Stellar "Catch a Rising Star" Basketball Showcase is set to tip off this Thursday through Saturday at Allentown's Cedar Beach and defending champion Freedom will have plenty of work to do in order to defend their title.
Head coach Joe Stellato is certainly aware of the difficulty that comes with the tournament, as well as dubious task to repeat as champions.
With all three local Bethlehem teams squaring off in summer league action at Cedar Beach, the real preview of what teams may have this winter comes this week.
The NORCO legion playoffs kickoff this week with defending champion Bath looking to make it back-to-back title campaigns.
The playoff brackets officially came out Sunday night following the completion of the Hellertown-Freemansburg contest, which decided the final seed in the eight-team tournament.
Hellertown won the contest over Freemansburg 11-3 to win the division, grab the eighth seed and send Freemansburg packing for the summer.
Seven local seniors were named to the PIAA 3A and 2A all-state volleyball teams last month to wrap up the boys' season.
Bethlehem Catholic's Evan Blair (OH) and Bryan Brown (setter) both were named to the 2A team, while Emmaus' Gabe Shankweiler (OH), Collin Stanton (OH), Nazareth's Galin Swigart (OH), Parkland's Michael Lewis (setter) and Whitehall's Nick Kuti (OH) rounded out the 3A contingent.
Becahi head coach Jeff Koch was pleased to have two of his seniors walk away with the accolades for their work over the past four season.
It would be fair to say that Fred Harris has been a busy man the past two years.
As athletic director for the Bethlehem Area School District, Harris has been responsible for overseeing Freedom and Liberty's athletic departments, a demanding and unique task for one person.
Starting this week, Harris has some help.
Diane Jordan was formally approved last week by the school board to her new appointment of becoming the athletic director at Freedom, effective July 1. The appointment now leaves Freedom with Jordan and Harris at Liberty.
Bethlehem's legion teams try to stay on top of their divisions as the final week of the season is upon us.
Bath (11-5) started out slow last week after an 0-3 start, but finished 3-4 as they look to hold off Nazareth (9-3-2) and Northampton (9-6) in the division.
Bath dropped contests to Kemp Post, Freemansburg and Big Pocono to start the week, but battled back to win two out of their next three, starting with Saturday's 12-4 victory over the Wanderers in their first game of a double-header on the day.
The Carpenter Cup championship concluded just before heavy rain and wind pelted Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia last Tuesday afternoon, but the storm that did the real damage came in the fourth inning.
A five-run fourth inning was the most damaging lightning strike for the Lehigh Valley squad, as they could never overcome the deficit en route to a 9-2 defeat to Mercer County. The Lehigh Valley squad hoped to win their fourth title in franchise history, but an 11-hit effort by Mercer County helped secure their second title ever and first since 2004.
There wasn't much offense, but the 43rd annual McDonald's All-Star Football Classic still provided a punch, literally, for fans last Thursday night at Nazareth's Andrew Leh Stadium.
A late game skirmish between both sides, led to the most exciting action on the night, as the Gold team knocked off the Red team 13-8.
Editor's note: The Carpenter Cup baseball finals take place Tuesday after Press deadlines. Be sure to check out next week's edition for coverage.
Tri-Cape had plenty of opportunities to stifle the Lehigh Valley Monday morning in the Carpenter Cup semifinals, but every time the door opened, the LV squad shut it quickly.
The Lehigh Valley took advantage of errors, played great defense and used quality pitching to knock off Tri-Cape 4-1 at Citizens Bank Park to reach their second final in three years.
The NORCO Legion standings have seen a shake up over the past week, as one time front-runners Bath have taken a dip to the red-hot Birches.
The Birches (10-1) lead the league at the moment, while Bath (8-2) slipped up over the weekend with a 4-2 loss to Kemp Post to fall in second place.
East Stroudsburg (9-3), Kemp Post (7-2-1) and Nazareth (9-2-2) all round out the top five in the standings.