East Penn Press

Monday, February 24, 2020
PRESS PHOTO BY LINDA ROTHROCKPitcher Hanna Palinkas is one of several returning players for this year’s Hornet softball team. PRESS PHOTO BY LINDA ROTHROCKPitcher Hanna Palinkas is one of several returning players for this year’s Hornet softball team.

Softball team looks to be ‘a lot better’

Sunday, March 31, 2019 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

Sports are changing, especially at the professional level where new things are being introduced into just about every sport. In the college ranks, the changes are there, but not on as much of a wholesale basis. In high school, there hasn’t really been much new other than adding extra classifications.

A few years ago, Emmaus swimming coach Tim O’Connor added some new tricks to his arsenal of training his swimmers, including working with nutritionists and a sports psychologist.

Brittany D’Agostino has found some new wrinkles to add to the Emmaus softball team this season as they look to build on their 12-10 overall record from last season.

Recently, players met with a sports psychologist who talked about confidence and how it can lead to better results on the field. They also tried another new approach – yoga.

“They loved it,” said D’Agostino of the yoga. “They were ready for it and it was an hour that they got to themselves and we’ve focused on the mental part of the game and on just taking care of their bodies. When it fits nicely into our schedule, we’ll do it through the whole season.”

The team has another meeting set with its sports psychologist later in the season, just before the end of the regular season and the start of playoffs, which D’Agostino plans on having her team be a part of.

“I think we’re going to be a lot better than last season,” D’Agostino said. “We had issues last season that we just couldn’t get past, there were some cliques that we dealt with last year. This year, the girls are really focused and wanting to be more of a team and I think that’s going to put us in a different spot this season.”

D’Agostino has her main battery of seniors Hannah Palinkas and Abby Bartels back. Palinkas was strong in the circle for Emmaus last season and she’s got some help this season in junior Tatum Kresley, who transferred to Emmaus from Bethlehem Catholic. The tandem will work nicely together, D’Agostino believes, giving Palinkas some rest and a couple different pitchers to throw at opposing teams.

Offensively, Kresley could add some punch to the lineup and brings the experience of having gone to the state championship game last season with the Golden Hawks.

“Having Hannah and Tatum in the circle for us now is definitely going to put us in a different spot this season,” said D’Agostino. “They mesh really nicely together. We have pretty strong bats and are pretty strong on the field, so I think that all together, we’re going to be pretty sound.”

The bottom line is that the team has some young players adjusting to new roles, but with strong senior leadership and with the possibility of a little more punch offensively, plus two strong pitchers, the season could go well for the Green Hornets. D’Agostino also pointed to the team’s defense, which she believes will help the team win some games this season. She also believes that the new ideas she’s introduced to the team along with the increased bonding experiences will help add to its 12 wins from last season.

The 2019 season started well for Emmaus with an 18-0 trouncing of Blue Mountain Monday in the season opener.

“I love my team,” said D’Agostino. “We’re young, but it’s pretty even; we have eight upperclassmen and six lowerclassmen and they’ve meshed really nicely together. The seniors have taken the younger kids under their wing and they’re being really good leaders and role models to them and they’re responding really well to them.”