Softball team completes up-and-down season
Emmaus softball came into the season with extremely high expectations. After a 20-5 campaign in 2017 and five seniors on their roster, it was assumed that the Lady Hornets would simply breeze through the season.
Nothing is ever easy in the East Penn Conference and after starting 4-0 with three of the wins coming against non-conference opponents, reality started to set in. Emmaus went on to lose three straight and then take a bit of a roller coaster ride through much of the schedule with a win or two followed by a loss or two. The team finished the season 11-10 overall.
“Our offense just seemed to disappear,” said first-year coach Brittany Frederick-D’Agostino earlier in the season. “We know that we’re better than we’ve shown and it’s not a lack of effort. We’re just not hitting right now.”
On the plus-side, that effort that Frederick-D’Agostino spoke of never disappeared. While the team was out of contention for a spot in the EPC playoffs, it put together an impressive late-season rally to qualify for districts. Coming into the final week of the regular season needing to win two of its three remaining games, Emmaus beat a tough Whitehall team that it had lost to earlier in the year and then beat East Stroudsburg South and Central Catholic to sweep the final week of the season and head for districts.
Having some time off to regroup gave the Hornets even more momentum. With a first-round district matchup against Whitehall, you might assume that the meeting would be another pitcher’s duel since the two teams had scored a total of just three runs in their two previous meetings. Another assumption proven wrong.
Both teams came out hitting with Emmaus smoking the Zephyrs 15-7 in the district opener.
Emmaus then faced top-seeded Parkland and took an early 1-0 lead on a home run from Lily Trexler. In the history of the field at Parkland High School, where the game was played, regulars remember only about 13 or 14 home runs being hit out of the park there. Trexler’s home run held up until the fifth inning when Trojans pitcher Kelly Dulaney also took one out of the park to put the home team up 2-1. Dulaney shut down the Emmaus offense from there and end the Hornets’ season in the district quarterfinals.
The 2019 version of the team will have plenty of opportunities for next-year’s players. Seniors Cassie Burke, Caitlyn Ashelman, Alexis Ruth, Maddy Clark and Megan Purinton will all be moving on to college. All five of the seniors saw time on the field for Emmaus this past season and will leave underclassmen with some questions to answer as far as who will step into key spots.
“This senior class was so productive and such a great group of girls,” said Frederick-D’Agostino. “They really know how to be leaders on and off the field and I’m proud of the effort they put into the team and how well they responded this season when we needed big plays or just needed someone to keep the team positive.”
When longtime coach John Eyer retired following the 2017 season, he pointed to the senior presence for 2018 as one of the reasons he felt he could step away and leave the team in a good position for the next coach.