The Emmaus American Legion baseball team had a reversal of fortunes in its last two games.
On Sunday, the Hornets put up late runs to blow out the Carbon Monarchs 15-6, but then dropped a 14-8 game to Allentown on Monday thanks to a 12-run fourth inning for Allentown.
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.
Emmaus was one of just two EPC teams to beat Parkland this season and Parkland players readily admitted they wanted another shot at the Hornets.
The Trojans got their chance when the two rivals met in the District 11 semifinal game last week at Patriots Park in Allentown. The result was a 10-0 Parkland win that eliminated Emmaus from districts, ending their season.
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.
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.