For a team that lost its last six regular season games and hung on to get a spot in the EPC playoffs and districts, Emmaus is doing some damage to other team’s chances in the postseason. First came an upset of Parkland in the EPC playoffs, then chipping apart Northampton’s Konkrete Kids in the first round of districts. On Sunday, Emmaus beat Easton for a trip to the District 11 Class 6A finals and a spot in the PIAA playoffs. Not bad for a team seeded eighth in the district.
Kellan Tulio came into the season as the ace of the Emmaus pitching staff. Each of his starts had scouts from major league teams in attendance to get an idea of whether they would consider drafting him in the MLB Draft, which takes place next week.
An oblique injury interrupted Tulio’s season, but Emmaus had another pitcher, Braden Waller, emerge to take over as the staff ace after opening the season as the team’s closer.
There’s just something about Northampton softball pitcher Kaira Zamadics that Emmaus hitters have had a hard time figuring out this season.
Zamadics allowed just four hits and shutout Emmaus 2-0 in late April and the Hornets ran into her again in the East Penn Conference semifinals.
Zamadics worked her magic in beating Emmaus by an identical 2-0 score in that league playoff game. The win was Northampton’s third in three meetings with the Hornets this season.
The three baseball games between Emmaus and Northampton have resulted in one of the better series of games in the Lehigh Valley this season.
The two teams met in the second game of the regular season and Emmaus shut down Northampton 2-0, with Kellan Tulio throwing six hitless innings that gave Northampton a streak of 13 straight innings without a hit to start the season.
The two teams met again in late April and it was Kids pitcher Evan Zwolenik who had the hot hand, striking out 10 Emmaus hitters in a 3-2 Northampton win.
With catching being a position that’s physically difficult to play, it’s not unusual for injuries to hit and make coaches go to their number-two catcher at some point. But for the top two catchers on a team to go down with injuries on the same night before three innings of a game are even completed is too much for most teams to handle.
For Emmaus, losing two catchers on the same night wasn’t easy, but the Hornets were actually able to find a number-three catcher who may be able to handle the spot the rest of the way.
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.
The Emmaus baseball team (8-4 overall, 7-2 EPC) ran into a Liberty team that had just four hits, but able to push seven runs across the plate in a 7-1 win over the Hornets recently in a key East Penn Conference game.
The Hurricanes (11-1, 9-0) were helped along by eight walks and a couple Emmaus errors that led to an earned run in the game.
Tulio started his season with six near-perfect innings against Northampton, holding the Konkrete Kids to no hits and just one walk, while striking out 12 in a 2-0 Emmaus win.
The chemistry on a team can make a big difference in how it performs on the field. Players who don’t get along well tend to look over their shoulder and are worried about the reaction of their teammates.
A team that is on the same page picks up a player who makes a mistake and players have fun going about their business. That’s not to say that they don’t care about outcomes, it’s just that they go about things in a different way.
The Lady Hornets broke a two-game skid with a 7-5 win over Whitehall recently. Emmaus used a four-run third inning to take an early lead and then fought off a Zephyrs’ comeback bid after Whitehall scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Emmaus picked up a first inning run on an RBI single from Abby Bartels and then added four runs in the top of the third. A Whitehall error led to the first two runs of the inning ahead of Bartels’ two-run home run that put Emmaus up 5-0.
Sometimes, the easiest way to describe a game like the one that Emmaus and Parkland played recently is to just look at the numbers: A combined 23 hits, nine errors, 20 walks, 18 strikeouts and three hours and 15 minutes to play.
It all resulted in a 17-11 loss for Emmaus on a cold, windy day at Church Lane Park.
“The message to the team was that we probably played the ugliest game we ever could play,” said Hornet head coach Jeremy Haas. “We played the worst game we could ever play and we still went toe-to-toe with a league favorite on a year-to-year basis.”