EHS baseball earns D-11 silver
The Emmaus baseball team was probably one of the better teams to ever be seeded eighth in District 11 Class 6A tournament. A funk of six straight losses during the season dropped the Hornets’ seeding, but the losses were more of a mirage than anything. The lower ranking may have made their postseason run a little sweeter by giving them the chance to knock off higher seeded opponents along the way to reaching the district finals against number-two seed Liberty.
Emmaus (13-12) put up a fight against the Hurricanes, but a rough first inning wound up being the deciding factor in a 3-1 loss in last week’s district championship game at Coca-Cola Park.
Kellan Tulio got the start for Emmaus after coming back from an injury that sidelined him for a portion of the season. After getting the first out, Tulio walked Marcus Nales, who then moved to second and third on back-to-back passed balls. Antonio Zabala was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners and Tulio followed up with a wild pitch that brought home a run and put Zabala on second.
Tulio appeared to suffer a foot injury on a pitch and after a passed ball moved Zabala to third, Hornet head coach Jeremy Haas went to Everett Horton in relief of Tulio.
Jack Rothenhousler grounded a ball to short that brought Zabala home and made it 2-0 Liberty.
Emmaus loaded the bases with one out in the first for Matt Madigan, who hit a sharp grounder to third that Todd Erney threw home to get the force and the second out of the inning. Erney then made a diving stop on another hard-hit ball by Joel Freeman and popped up to get the final out of the inning at first.
“I was never comfortable because we never had the lead,” said Haas. “Once you start the game and you’re already down, you sort of go into preservation mode. My whole thought process was how do I keep this a 2-0 lead and how do we chip away at that. For me, I really didn’t have a chance to think about the game flow, it was always about the next hitter, the next pitcher and who it was going to be.”
Emmaus put a run on the board in the fourth when an error and two walks loaded the bases. Erney moved from third to the mound to take over for Rothenhousler and gave up a fly ball to Jude Negron that brought Brandon Robinson home from third. Erney was able to get the next two outs to end the inning with no further damage, maintaining the 2-1 Liberty advantage.
Braden Waller, who took over for Horton in the second, worked his way through the Liberty lineup, including picking off a runner on first base in the third inning. The pick-off was big because the next batter, Caleb Tereska, doubled to center but was stranded on second when Waller got a pop-up to end the inning.
Dylan Lehman came on to start the fifth for Emmaus and put the Hurricanes down in order. After getting the first out in the bottom of the sixth, Lehman surrendered a double to Tereska. An error and intentional walk loaded the bases for Caleb Gross, who drove home Tereska on a fly ball for the game’s final run.
Emmaus went down in order in the top of the seventh, forcing the Hornets to settle for silver medals in districts, but still holding a spot in the PIAA playoffs.
“It’s still a special season and I’ll remind them that it was special,” Haas noted after the game. “Liberty is 23-3, they’re a really good team and it took everything they had to beat us and we didn’t play a clean game, so it’s maybe a case of what could have been. If we had played a clean game we might be on top, but that’s not the way it happened.”
Emmaus’ season ended Monday in the first round of the state playoffs. The Hornets fell to Central Bucks South, 4-3 in eight innings.