EHS softball season ends in District 11 semifinals
With a 10-0 loss to Parkland in the District 11 semifinals, the Emmaus softball season came to a somewhat abrupt end. While the Hornets had lost some tough games along the way this season, they hadn’t experienced the type of loss that they did against their rivals and it left a bit of a sting on the team.
Even with the sudden end, the season was generally a strong one for a team on the upswing.
A season ago, Emmaus came into districts as the number-nine seed and went out in the quarterfinals with a 2-1 loss to Parkland. This season, Emmaus was the fourth seed and went into the semifinal game an underdog, but not by a wide margin. During the regular season, Emmaus (16-8) handed Parkland (25-3) one of the Trojans’ two losses, which was possibly a high point of the season for Emmaus.
“Overall, it was a really good season, the loss to Parkland notwithstanding,” said second-year Hornet head coach Brittany D’Agostino. “That one loss didn’t define what our season was like and what we accomplished, really it was more defined by all of the success that we had and how far we went and that speaks for itself.”
After opening the season 3-3, Emmaus pulled things together and embarked on a seven-game win streak that made other teams in the area take note of the Hornets. The string was broken with a 2-1 loss to Nazareth and a 2-0 loss to Northampton before a third straight loss, this time in a nonconference game against Perkiomen Valley.
Just when things looked a little bleak, Emmaus again turned on the power and rattled off five straight wins, including wins against three teams – Easton, Parkland and Stroudsburg – who all qualified for the District 11 tournament. The win over Easton came in the EPC playoffs, but Emmaus was beaten by Northampton 2-0 and eliminated from the EPC medal hunt in the next round. In districts, Emmaus beat Freedom before the season-ending loss to Parkland.
Junior Tatum Kresley led the team in hitting with a .575 average and scored a team-high 37 runs out of the leadoff spot. Seniors Abby Bartels (.412), Hannah Palinkas (.385) and Jordyn Bruckler (.339) were next in the race for the top average on the team.
In addition to facing the loss of the three top-hitting seniors, outfielder Lily Trexler and third baseman Olivia Sander also graduate and leave some opportunities for other players to step into next season. Bartels led the team with three home runs and Palinkas was the team-leader in RBIs with 20, followed closely by Bartels, who drove in 19.
In addition to the offense that they lose, Palinkas was their top pitcher, starting all but five games for Emmaus this season and finishing with a 1.38 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 121 innings of work. Kresley came in from her usual left field spot to make five starts and five relief appearances this season for D’Agostino.
“These seniors have been a great group and it’s tough to say good-bye to them,” admitted D’Agostino. “They’re a great group and they brought a lot of energy to the team, not to mention that they’re all great people with personalities that we’re going to miss.”
The good news is that Emmaus also has some young players who showed promise this season and will fight for the opportunity to fill the spots vacated by the seniors. Sophomore Kira Ryan hit an even .300 this season and fellow sophomores Marah Sisonick and Madison Burns were all among the top 10 in hitting for the team. Summer Lenhart, Kylee Perna and Abby Hark all joined the team from the JV squad during the season and saw some playing time at varsity for Emmaus. Next year’s team will feature just three seniors in Kresley, Adriana Roccoberton and Stephanie Roccoberton.