EHS softball falls in extra innings
Emmaus softball is in the midst of a tough stretch in its schedule that lasts through this week. Not only do the Hornets play tough teams, but through Wednesday they will have played seven games in 10 days, with the latter part of that being against teams with winning records. It would be eight if not for a rainout against Stroudsburg.
“Not too many teams in the league have a schedule like we do right now,” said coach Brittany D’Agostino. “I keep looking ahead and I keep thinking that this is a little crazy. We keep telling them ‘it’s just a game, so go out and play with all you’ve got.’”
The toughest stretch started against Nazareth (13-4, 9-4), who Emmaus defeated 8-7 earlier in the season. In that game, Emmaus (10-5, 8-4) built a big early lead and then held off the Blue Eagles, who scored seven unanswered runs. This time around, it was an entirely different story. Both teams had cold bats and the pitcher’s dominated.
Nazareth went up 1-0 in the top of the fourth and Emmaus would need until the bottom of the sixth to respond. Marah Sisonick tripled with one out and then scored on an error to tie the game and send it into extra innings. Neither team broke through until the top of the tenth when Nazareth plated a run. Emmaus had a runner thrown out at the plate to end the game in the bottom of the tenth.
After a day off, Emmaus was right back on the field at Northampton (14-3, 10-3) looking to avenge a loss earlier in the season. The same type of script that played out against Nazareth was repeated against the Konkrete Kids.
After a 7-4 final in the first game, the two teams were scoreless through four innings. In the top of the fifth Northampton got two quick outs to open the inning. Tatum Kresley, who recently reached the 100-hit mark for her career, then hit a sharp ball to short that went through the legs of Katelyn Stuhldreher and was hit hard enough to split the outfielders. Kresley used her speed to turn the play into a three-base error, but she wound up being stranded at third.
In the bottom of the inning, Nicole Secara reached on an infield single and promptly stole second. One out later, Jordan Geroulo singled to center to score the game’s first run. Geroulo went to second on the throw to the plate and Madison Fraley drove her in with an identical line drive single up the middle and it was 2-0 Northampton.
Throughout the game, Emmaus had some chances, including loading the bases with one out in the second inning, putting a runner on third with two outs in the fourth and fifth innings and then moving a runner to third with one out in the sixth.
“We just need to hit the ball right now,” said D’Agostino. “Our defense has been doing a nice job. We’ve had a couple errors here and there, but overall they’ve been good. It’s just been the hitting. You’re not going to win unless you hit the ball better than we have been.”
Palinkas followed up her strong outing against Nazareth with an impressive outing against Northampton. The Konkrete Kids got a one-out walk in the first, but Palinkas then retired the next eight batters before Northampton got back-to-back singles to open the fourth inning.
Emmaus has qualified for districts and is in a battle for a playoff spot in the EPC. As of Monday’s games, Emmaus would qualify as a wild card for the conference playoffs, taking the seventh spot out of the eight teams that qualify. Freedom (8-5 EPC) holds the eighth spot with Pocono Mountain East (7-5) and Liberty (7-6) also in the battle.
After Northampton, Emmaus has EPC games against Whitehall (12-5, 11-3) and Parkland (16-1, 13-1) this week. The season ends against Central Catholic (3-10, 2-10) on Monday.