East Penn Press

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PRESS PHOTO BY BOB BRANDMIER Emmaus' Olivia Marcks delivers a pitch in the district playoffs. PRESS PHOTO BY BOB BRANDMIER Emmaus' Olivia Marcks delivers a pitch in the district playoffs.

Softball falls in quarterfinal round

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in HS Sports

Emmaus' up and down softball season continued into the District 11 Tournament and unfortunately, ended on the down side when Whitehall put on a late rally to down the Lady Hornets 5-4, ending Emmaus' season with a 15-7 record.

The Hornets had hoped to rebound from their controversial loss to Parkland in the Lehigh Valley Conference championship and got off to a good start. It was just hanging on to that good start that proved to be difficult.

After Whitehall got a run in the top of the first inning, the Hornets didn't appear to be fazed at all, coming right back to score two runs in the first and second innings to grab the lead.

Claire Harris was in the middle of the scoring in both innings. In the first, she singled and scored a run on a wild pitch and in the second, she doubled to drive in a run and then scored her second run of the game when she was on third and Morgan Patterson was hit by a pitch.

Starter Olivia Marcks ran into a little trouble in the third inning, but was able to strand two runners. Unfortunately, that inning proved to be a precursor to what would happen in the fourth inning.

After getting the first out, Marcks surrendered back-to-back singles before the defense again faltered and made two errors. Marcks also uncorked a wild pitch. Emmaus committed its third error of the game with the game tied, handing the Zephyrs the go-ahead run.

Offensively, Emmaus' bats were pretty well shut down as Whitehall's Julia Solderitch helped her team to hold onto their slim 5-4 edge. Emmaus mounted a rally in the sixth when Emmaus had two runners on base, but Solderitch was able to weather the storm and worked out of the jam. Solderitch allowed a walk in the seventh, but again, wasn't bothered and worked through the inning to send her team into the district quarterfinals.

Coach John Eyer didn't pin any part of the loss on a lingering affect from the controversial Parkland game. Instead, he believes that his team just didn't perform the way they were capable of.

"Whitehall's not a bad team," he said. "They beat us in the regular season, and any team that gets into districts, you have to take seriously, so we were ready for them. Unfortunately, we just didn't execute and they didn't give us any real openings to come back."

The team has seven seniors Rachel Brown, Emily Dugan, Claire Harris, Olivia Marcks, Kristi Morello, Miryah Palko and Haley Warner which leaves a lot of holes to fill for next season.

"This group of girls has been fabulous," said Eyer. "They play hard and work hard and I'm proud of them. It's just a shame that we came up short this year, I would have liked to send these seniors out with a better finale, but that's the way it goes sometimes."

With the end of the LVC now official, the 2015 season will bring new division alignments and scheduling opportunities. The LVC will merge with the Mountain Valley Conference, bringing new opponents into the mix.

"We'll have to see how it goes," Eyer said. "We already see some of those teams and the others, we'll find out about. Bottom line is that you have to win, so at least that stays the same."