Whitehall-Coplay Press

Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Press photo by Linda RothrockMadison Cunningham had a big day against Nazareth as the Zephs pulled off a victory over the Eagles. Press photo by Linda RothrockMadison Cunningham had a big day against Nazareth as the Zephs pulled off a victory over the Eagles.

Softball off to hot start

Thursday, April 4, 2019 by Steve andres Special to the Press in Sports

While it may be early, the Whitehall softball team all ready has an important victory under their belt, a type of win that can help galvanize a young team.

That win came last Thursday as they defeated Nazareth 7-3. Moreover, they beat reigning Lehigh Valley Conference MVP Samantha Gorkos, as Madison Cunningham came through in the circle and at the plate to help them notch the big win.

“Any win’s a good win, but a win against a team of that quality, is even more so,” said head coach Blake Morgan.

Morgan knows that their next meeting will see Nazareth ready to exact some revenge so Gorkos and company will definitely be ready.

Cunningham’s day included a homer and three RBIs in addition to staying away from the big inning in the circle.

Morgan said that it’s a big responsibility to just pitch, but she came through with some quality at-bats that helped them get the win.

Cunningham said that Nazareth is a good team, but they were able to keep focused even after committing some errors.

“It was a hard game for us, but we came through,” said Cunningham.

Cunningham’s three-run bomb helped turn the tide, but she wasn’t sure what pitch from Gorkos she nailed to hit the dinger. She just saw something she liked and hit it. It was just a good team win.

“Overall, we did really well that game,” said Cunningham.

They followed that with a 10-8 win over North Pocono on Saturday for their third victory of the season.

They fell behind early to the Trojans, surrendering four runs in the top of the second to trail 4-2. They got a run back in the third when Cunningham delivered an RBI single to left, and then erupted for five more the following frame as doubles by Anastasia Yocum and Meghan Hutter led the charge to give them an 8-5 lead.

North Pocono came knocking again, this time in the top of the sixth as Whitehall tacked on another run in their half of the fifth. After a walk to load the bases, Dayle Smith delivered a bases-clearing triple to cut Whitehall’s lead to 9-8.

But that was all they would score as Cunningham set them down in order in the seventh to end the game.

The game saw Whitehall fight back from a deficit, and then keep their composure as their opponent started to mount a late rally. It was all part of the learning process.

“We talk all the time about keeping it to twenty-one outs,” said Morgan. “And one inning there we didn’t do that.”

Some errors, along with some other execution issues helped extend the inning.

“We’re young, so that’s going to hurt you when you give more than twenty-one outs,” said Morgan.

Morgan said that the one thing that’s been consistent so far in the young season is their ability to fight back.

“They believe in each other,” he said.

He said they need to learn how to come back from a 4-run deficit, something they didn’t do in their first game at Myrtle Beach.

“Today they fought and said we’re not going to make the same mistake twice and that’s what you want out of a young team,” said Morgan.

Cunningham said that they feature a lineup of really good hitters. She said she remembers facing them last season and knew they would be a tough out.

Lindsey Gawrys, who went 3-4, provided their insurance run in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI, her second on the day. She also played a big role in their win against Nazareth, going 1-3 with an RBI and two runs scored.

“She’s just been tremendous,” said Morgan.

He also said that Abby Reese (3-4) is hitting the ball well and that their younger players are really producing.

Morgan likes where they are right now, but knows there’s so much more to get better at, something that the team understands as well.

Cunningham also said that they have room for a lot of improvement and believes the rest of the year will be really fun.

“We just keep getting better and I’m excited for that,” said Cunningham.