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.”
After a pair of 2-0 wins to open the season, the Emmaus offense has been starting to find a little bit of its groove. The Hornets downed Pottsville 5-1 in a non-conference game Saturday and found themselves in their freewheeling offensive game of the year in a 9-8 win over Whitehall Monday.
Sports are changing, especially at the professional level where new things are being introduced into just about every sport. In the college ranks, the changes are there, but not on as much of a wholesale basis. In high school, there hasn’t really been much new other than adding extra classifications.
A few years ago, Emmaus swimming coach Tim O’Connor added some new tricks to his arsenal of training his swimmers, including working with nutritionists and a sports psychologist.
The high school baseball season was supposed to get underway last week, but as often happens with spring sports, the weather didn’t cooperate. For the Green Hornets, getting back onto the field is something they’ve been anticipating since they went 12-4 in the East Penn Conference and 16-6 overall last season, reaching the conference semifinals. The team has 12 seniors on the roster, giving it lots of experience for new head coach Jeremy Haas.
Emmaus diver Brendan McCourt has been getting better and better with each big event. With two District 11 diving championships to his credit, the junior diver came into states with a dream of having a gold medal hung around his neck and he didn’t miss the opportunity. Meanwhile, Emmaus boys swimmers put up good performances to finish 15th in the team standings.
After taking team gold in the District 11 Swimming and Diving Championships earlier this month, the girls’ swimming team came into states looking for a strong finish. The Hornets got what they hoped for with a medal performance in the 200-yard medley relay and some good finishes in other events this past Friday and Saturday at Bucknell University in Lewisburg.
The senior-laden team of Katie Champagne, Chelsea Gravereaux and Abby Heilenman teamed with freshman Lauren Sharp to finish fifth in the 200-yard medley relay.
The Emmaus swimming and diving team is well represented at the PIAA championships, which will held this weekend at Bucknell University. Seven swimmers, six relay teams and one diver will represent the Green Hornets at Kinney Natatorium on Friday and Saturday.
Diver Brendan McCourt, a junior, is the highest seeded individual. At least year’s meet, McCourt finished seventh in the competition, making him the highest-finishing sophomore in the event dominated by senior and junior divers.
The last time that a team other than Emmaus won the team championship at the District 11 Swimming and Diving Championships, it was almost a completely different world. A computer company named Apple had just introduced the first iPhone, but it hadn’t yet been released. John McCain, Rudi Guiliani, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were all running for president and the final Harry Potter book was being published.
That was 2007 and with their team championship last weekend in districts, the streak continues, reaching 12 straight years.