Girls edged by PHS Parkland
When Logan Bortz stepped to the plate in the top seventh of a tie game in the quarterfinal round of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Softball Championships, she was looking for something to drive to put them ahead by a run in a tough pitcher’s duel.
She had blasted a double to deep center in her previous trip to the plate, and the senior was now looking to duplicate that prior at-bat with Abby Reese on first in a 1-1 tie.
Trojan starting pitcher Kelly Dulaney had been pitching outside all game, and Bortz spoiled a number of those outside offerings. When Dulaney did venture inside, it was close enough where the Zephyr power hitter couldn’t extend her arms.
Bortz fouled off numerous inside pitches, just trying to see if Dulaney would make a mistake, but the battle tilted in the Trojan’s hurler favor as Bortz got caught looking on an inside pitch. The inning and threat ended when Amanda Mortimer grounded into a fielder’s choice.
Head coach Blake Morgan said that Bortz and Dulaney are familiar with one another having played numerous games together on club teams. Dulaney saw that her attempt at getting Bortz to fish outside wasn’t working so she went in, and just executed a good pitch to punch her out on a called third strike.
“It was just a good battle,” said Morgan.
Parkland, however, would make the most of its opportunity in the bottom of the inning as Isabella Polash got a hit to left. Caroline Rivera followed with a double just inside the line in right. The Trojans won it on a blooper to right off the bat of Renee Snyder, sending them into the EPC semifinals.
The game was reminiscent of their first meeting at Parkland’s home field. In that game, the two teams were locked in a scoreless tie until the bottom of the seventh, stringing together a pair of doubles for the win.
Morgan said that it proved that they can play to the wire against one of the best teams in the league. He said that despite the big loss in the final game of season to the Trojans, he believes the two teams are pretty evenly matched.
Morgan acknowledged that one thing Parkland knows how to do is seize the momentum, and then capitalize on that momentum when the opponent makes a mistake. He says it’s a product of an experienced, well-coached team that’s been in postseason ball almost every season. It’s something that his young squad is still learning.
The Zephs got on the scoreboard in the top of the first when Meghan Hutter laced a double to start the game. She came home to score on an RBI hit by Lindsey Gawrys.
In the circle, Madison Cunningham pitched an exceptional game. She worked out of a jam in the bottom of the sixth when the Trojans had runners on second and third with one out. She just stayed poised, inducing Dulaney to hit into a fielder’s choice, and then got the next batter to hit a weak grounder to Rachel Arner for the final out. She finished with four strikeouts for the game.
Also this week, the EPC announced its all-stars and the Zephyrs were well represented. Arner (2nd base) and Hutter (outfield) made the first team, while Gawrys made the second team (1st base).
Their attention will now focus to the district playoffs. Morgan said that they’ll approach this tournament just like they did the league playoffs. He said they’ll be in the hunt for a title as their “second season” gets underway next week. He views his team on par with the rest of the qualifiers, and is anxious to have his team ready for the challenge ahead.
“We’re excited about our opportunity,” said Morgan. “We just have to take care of our end.”