A week from now, the regular season for high school tennis will be over, and the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Tournament will have crowned a champion. For Emmaus, a big 6-0 start has shrunk to a 6-3 record, with losses to Nazareth (10-1, 11-1), Parkland (11-1, 12-1) and Northampton (7-5, 8-5). The losing skid has come at the hands of some of the best teams in the area, and everybody knew the final stretch of the season was going to be a difficult one.
While their opponents from Blue Mountain High School were going through infield practice Saturday, the Lady Hornets were having a sing along around their bench. Perhaps they want to add the ‘80s girl’s anthem Girls Just Want to Have Fun to their playlist. The song may be too outdated for them, but it’s really what their team is all about this season.
With Parkland’s Michael Jenkins making it tough to score runs, Emmaus coach Mike Mihalik decided to have his team get a little aggressive late in the game Monday, and it paid off. The end result was a 3-2 Emmaus win and momentum going into other big games.
With the game scoreless going to the top of the sixth inning, Jake Hahn led off with a base-hit, which opened the door to being more aggressive for the Hornets (4-1 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, 6-2 overall). Zach Schrader followed with a well-executed hit-and-run to move pinch-runner Randy Weldon to second with one out.
The Emmaus track and field teams picked up wins over Whitehall and East Stroudsburg North last week.
The Hornets, which hosted the meet, won the boys meet by scores of 79.5-70.5 (over Whitehall) and 99-51 (over East Stroudsburg North). The Emmaus girls team beat Whitehall 77-73 and topped the Timberwolves 104.5-44.5.
Four Emmaus athletes won individual events in the boys meet, including Sean McFarland (400), Del Vierling (1600), Charlie Norelli (3200) and Josh Artis (high jump). The Hornets also won two of the three relays.
Winning cures all, and the best remedy for a loss is following it up with a win. That’s just what the Emmaus boys lacrosse team did last week over a two-day span.
After a 12-8 defeat to defending Eastern Pennsylvania Conference champion Easton last Monday, the first loss of the season for the Green Hornets, they followed up less than 24 hours later, taking down Liberty 13-0 last Tuesday night at Memorial Field.
It was a welcome sight for sixth-year head coach Scott Ketcham.
Emmaus came into Monday’s game at Parkland feeling good about how its season was going so far. A 2-0 start to the season gave the Hornets some confidence, and it showed when the Hornets took on the Lady Trojans.
Facing Aubree Fritzinger, one of the better pitchers in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, Emmaus came out swinging and hit the ball hard, but couldn’t find many holes. The end result was a frustrating 6-2 loss to Parkland.
None of the current Emmaus girls varsity lacrosse players had beaten Parkland in any of the previous three years. The Hornets had not beaten the Trojans in girls lacrosse in much longer than that, and most of the outcomes hadn’t been close on the scoreboard.
But in the first meeting between the two schools of 2017, that streak came to an end.
Emmaus stayed undefeated in league play and beat Parkland for the first time since 2009. The Hornets got a team-high four goals from senior Maddy Dorn in Saturday’s 13-12 victory at Memorial Field.
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.