Matt Lanzone didn’t let a little early trouble get him down Monday when Emmaus took on Whitehall at Coca-Cola Park.
The senior starting pitcher allowed three hits and a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. But he got out of the inning and bounced back with five shutout innings as the Hornets came back to beat the Zephyrs 12-2 in six innings.
Every year at the start of a new season, there are fresh faces around, whether it is the players or the coaches. This year, the Emmaus girls lacrosse program will have a new leader running the show in Roxann Betz, who takes over for previous head coach Nancy Debellis. Betz was an assistant coach for the program the last three years and knows what is expected.
“I am excited to take on a new role within our program,” said Betz. “It is my task to help these girls learn a brand-new system under a first-year coach.”
All-star games are meant to be fun for the players and entertaining for crowds. After a high school basketball season that saw plenty of local teams reach the state tournament, Saturday’s Via All-Star Basketball Classic was a refreshing ending for many senior players’ careers.
While it was impressive to see the Emmaus offense erupt against Pocono Mountain West and score 15 runs in three innings for a 15-0 mercy rule win, it would have been nice to see the game go longer, because of another impressive performance that was cut short.
Senior Zach Schrader was cruising through the Pocono Mountain West lineup and was perfect through three innings, striking out four batters along the way.
Of the 36 pitches Schrader threw, 27 were for strikes. Panthers hitters didn’t manage to get a ball out of the infield in their nine at-bats.
Dan Wessner is about to embark on his second season in charge of the Emmaus boys and girls track and field teams. He’ll be doing so, however, without a number of key distance runners who had become the face of the Hornets’ track and field program in recent years.
The list of Hornet boys that Wessner lost to graduation includes Ryan Paradise, Greg Jaindl and Jake Feiertag, all of whom are running in college. Those three, along with Kyle Kleinberg, guided Emmaus to a silver medal at districts in the 4x800 relay.
Coming into its final five games of the 2016 softball season, Emmaus was right on the cusp of qualifying for districts, with a 5-6 record in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and a 7-7 overall record.
The Hornets’ final five games could make or break their season and all of them came against Skyline Division opponents, which was stacked as usual.
Emmaus lost to Northampton and then dropped a hard-fought 5-4 game to Nazareth before another loss to Parkland, which eliminated the Hornets from any postseason possibilities.
With March snowstorms in each of the past two years now, local baseball teams have gotten used to practicing indoors in gyms or anywhere they can find space.
If Emmaus’ first game is any indication, the Hornets might not have really missed having time on the field because of the snow, as they came out of the box with a 12-1 win over Reading.
This year’s team has a good crop of returning seniors to help give the team a lot of leadership, which could be one reason why it didn’t struggle despite not having played on a field for two weeks.
Looking down at his roster at the beginning of this spring season, third-year Emmaus boys volleyball head coach Ken Dunkle saw a lot of familiar faces. The team returns experience despite losing five seniors to graduation after the 2016 season.
The Green Hornets ended last year 15-3 overall, falling in their last two games to Parkland in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference title game, and Liberty in the District 11 semifinals.
For the first time since the start of the 2013 season, the Emmaus boys lacrosse team will not open the year as defending District 11 champions. The Green Hornets lost their last two games of 2016 to Easton in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semifinals, and to Parkland in the district quarterfinals.
Emmaus finishing in the top five at states this season wasn’t necessarily a surprise; it’s the fourth straight year, all under head coach Peter Chromiak, that the Hornet rifle team has finished in the top five.
But placing second as a team might have been a bit unexpected as that was the their top finish in over a decade.
Emmaus secured silver with a team score of 973, only behind champion Woodland Hills, which scored a 978.