Hornet softball was set to take another leap forward in ‘20
Last spring the Emmaus softball program put together its best season in some time. The Hornets reached the semifinals in both the East Penn Conference and District 11 playoffs. Graduation did take away five players, including Hannah Palinkas and Abby Bartels, their top pitcher and catcher, respectively. Even with those losses, the team was in a good position to improve on its 2019 season.
In her third season as EHS softball head coach, Brittany D’Agostino also had high hopes. This year’s team had just one senior, Tatum Kresley, but also returned several younger players who had gained valuable experience last season. Kresley was a key part of last year’s team and set the school record for hits in a season with 51, breaking the previous record of 44.
“Tatum only wanted to see the team succeed this season and I know she would have been a great team captain this year,” said D’Agostino. “It breaks my heart she didn’t get to finish out her senior year. It’s heartbreaking for all the senior athletes from the whole district. The class of 2020 was very talented.”
D’Agostino had the practice season end abruptly but had kept up hope that her team would be able to return to the field at some point. As time went on, it became apparent that the odds weren’t on the side of being able to play even a partial schedule.
Emmaus athletic director Becky George was keeping up contact with her coaches and staff regarding the status of the spring season. Meanwhile, D’Agostino kept in touch with her players through online meetings, in addition to keeping her eyes on the PIAA web site watching for word on whether the season would get underway.
Last Thursday, D’Agostino refreshed the PIAA web site in the middle of the afternoon and got the news she dreaded. Losing the season was a hard pill for D’Agostino to swallow, but she knows it’s much more difficult for the players.
“It was a gut-wrenching feeling because I knew I was going to have to break it to the kids,” she said. “We had one last Zoom meeting Thursday evening; it broke my heart. They were going to do something special this season. Tatum was especially upset by the final decision, because she was really looking forward to this upcoming season. I know I’m personally heartbroken as a coach but as an athlete right now I can’t even imagine.”
Seniors also don’t know what will happen to proms and graduation ceremonies, but for now, it appears they may be lost memories as well.
One thing is for sure. Senior athletes have been deprived of great memories both as individual players and as part of a team. Players in other classes have also been deprived of a season during which many of them may have stepped into starting roles or at least would have seen increased playing time. That added playing time would have set them up for even bigger seasons and memories in 2021. By no fault of their own, a key part of their high school years has been swept away.