Softball gets win over ESS
The Whitehall softball team scored early and often against East Stroudsburg South on Monday as they rolled to another win that keeps them in the hunt for a conference playoff berth.
The Zephyrs are vying for one of the eight spots, and currently 10 teams have legitimate chances to be in that playoff mix. Whitehall sits in the fourth spot of the Skyline Division of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference at 9-5, while Emmaus is right behind them at 8-7 as of May 1. Whitehall also holds the edge in conference play at 5-5 in the EPC, one game better than the Hornets who are 5-6. Nazareth, Parkland and Northampton occupy the top three spots in the conference with the Blue Eagles and Trojans in command with just one loss apiece.
In the Steel Division, four teams sit with plus .500 records, and Liberty (9-5, 6-4) is another bubble team that’s looking to secure a spot in the EPC tourney.
With six games remaining on their schedule, the Zephyrs took a step in the right direction with their 14-2 win over the Cavaliers on Monday. With a game versus Pocono Mountain West on Tuesday, the Zephyrs will have five games remaining, with four of those against division opponents.
Their rule-shortened win against ESS comes of the heels with their win over Dieruff.
Sophomore Amanda Mortimer, who plays the hot corner, said that they did a good job at the plate in the first inning, scoring 10 runs.
She credited the Cavaliers for answering with two runs in their half of the third to cut the lead to eight. Whitehall sealed the game in the fifth, putting across four more runs, and then shut down ESS in the fifth for the win.
Mortimer said that the whole team was clicking. She led the way with two RBIs, giving her six on the season.
“We played really well today,” she said.
Abigail Reese got the start in the circle for the Zephyrs. She walked one and struck out five en route to the complete-game victory.
Mortimer said that it was their job to support Reese in her first start.
“We just had to be there for her and help her get through the game, but she did really well,” said Mortimer.
Head coach Blake Morgan said that every player on their roster has a role, and while Reese has been doing a tremendous job in center field, she’s their backup pitcher who needs to start getting some innings. That held true for a number of positions against ESS as they also worked in a new catcher.
“[All] the players on this team are contributors and we’re counting on them, for different things as we get into different games” said Morgan. “So just to give them an opportunity and go get one here, and Abby did a tremendous job.”
Morgan, whose team won their last two shortened games, stresses the importance of respecting the game, respecting the opponent, and respecting oneself. That way, it doesn’t matter who they play, they’re going to play it the right way. It also reinforces the notion that any team is capable of beating another team in the league. All teams put in the same amount of preparation and work toward winning every time they step onto the field.
“We talk a lot about respecting the game, and when you do that, you go out and do your job,” said Morgan.
The Cavaliers had some big hits in that third inning and Morgan knows that they could have easily turned it into a bigger inning. They were hitting the ball hard all day.
Morgan also liked their approach at the plate on Monday.
“We worked a lot on situational hitting, and I think we did a good job,” he said.
He said that making an out on a fly ball to score a run, or hitting a pitch to the right side to advance a runner is something they’re continually working on so when they get into the tighter games, it will be easier to step into since it won’t be the first time they’ve done that.
In the win, the Zephs had contributions from across the board as Meghan Hutter, Lindsey Gawrys, Casey Cunningham, Anastasia Yocum, Iliana Oliver, Samantha Molitoris and Rachel Sottolano all had RBIs for the Zephs.
Defensively the Zephs made a number of good plays, including Hutter’s nice pick from deep short in the fourth that got the runner after a strong throw.
Mortimer said that the chemistry is good among the team where players pick one another up. They’ve added a number of younger players who’ve added to that mix, and Mortimer says they’ve all been working well together. As they make a much for the playoffs, she said they’ll need to do stay focused on doing the little things right.
“We just have to keep going up to the plate confident, keep hitting, playing good D, stick together as a team, and compete every inning,” said Mortimer. “If we do that, we’ll do a good job.”