Girls fall to Northampton
The Whitehall softball team ran into a Konkrete barrier last week as Northampton blanked the Zephyrs last week, clinching the Cement Belt Championship.
Northampton pitcher Maddie Biechy put up a huge roadblock against Whitehall’s offense, going the distance for the 3-0 win. The sophomore surrendered just four hits, and allowed just one base runner to reach third base the entire game.
The victory gave Northampton the head-to-head series win over Whitehall, claiming the Cement Belt Championship for the second year in a row. With the defeat, coupled with their 2-1 loss to Easton last Friday, the Zephyrs are now 11-7 overall and 7-7 in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.
Northampton got all the runs they would need in the first inning, pushing across two in the top of the frame. Whitehall was able to get their leadoff runner on in their half of the inning as Rachel Arner led off with a single, but after a stolen base landed her on second, she was stranded in scoring position after a Casey Cunningham fielder’s choice to end the threat.
Their best opportunity came in the second inning as Logan Bortz ripped a double over the center fielder’s head to start the frame. Veronica Rodriguez advanced the runner with a grounder to the right side, leaving the Zephs with a runner on third with one out. But they were unable to capitalize on the leadoff two-bagger as Biechy recorded a strikeout, and then got Anastasia Yocum to hit into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Head coach Blake Morgan said that they were able to make good contact, they just didn’t get the results.
“I’m surprised because we hit so well,” said Morgan. “It’s this game. You have to go make plays, and early in the game we didn’t make the plays. There were questionable things that happened early, but you have to be able to overcome those. You still have seven innings to go do something about it.”
Starting pitcher Maddie Cunningham once again kept her team in the game. She was strong in the circle, especially in the top of the fourth when it looked like the Kids were headed for a big inning as the first two runners reached base. But the freshman bore down and got the next batter to hit into a fielder’s choice, and then struck out the next two hitters to retire the side. She finished the game with six strikeouts.
“Maddie pitched great,” said Morgan. “She threw well and we have to go get her run support. It’s just that simple.”
He said that their offense needs to respond, no matter if it’s one run or twenty runs, they have to respond offensively.
Their defense rose to the occasion later in the game, recording an out at home that prevented further damage after the Kids were able to score their third run of the game. A ball driven to the base of the fence in left-center went for a double to begin the fifth. After a walk to the next batter, Biechy drove in the third run with a single to left. The trail runner, who had been on second, rounded third, but a Rodriguez relay to shortstop Samantha Molitoris, who threw a strike to Yocum, nabbed the runner at the plate.
Morgan said that in this stage of the season, every game is like a playoff game and they can’t make mistakes.
“Mistakes come back to get you,” he said.
The Zephyrs, who have already clinched a district playoff berth, will look to see if they can nab a spot in the EPC playoffs with two games remaining.