Palmerton girls softball coach Glenn Reimer knew he had a pretty decent team returning this season. Just how good, remained to be seen.
The Lady Bombers could quickly become the local "Cardiac Kids" as they scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh for a 8-7 win over Colonial League rival Northwestern Lehigh on Friday afternoon.
Palmerton, which won just one game last year, has now won four in a row since a non-league loss to East Stroudsburg South in their opener and sit tied for the Colonial League North lead at 3-0 with Pen Argyl, who it plays on Monday.
"So many people have overlooked us and have taken us so lightly," said Reimer afterwards. "We're showing them that we have a good team here, we just have to earn some respect and that's what we're doing."
Down twice in the game, once early and once in the seventh inning, the Palmerton bats stayed alive.
Trailing 7-5 with just three outs remaining, Jen Snyder led off with a single to right-center and scored on a triple by Michelle Rickert. Rickert tried to score the tying run on a groundout by Amber Hettler, but Northwestern catcher Jackie Wear blocked the plate for the second out.
Kelli Arner kept the Palmerton hopes alive as she stroked a single to left. Vicki Graver came on as a courtesy runner and wound up scoring the tying run when Jenna Ritter's blast got by Northwestern's Steph Hepler leaving the latter race al the way around to third base. Sierra Miller drew a walk sending Martina Herring to the plate. The Bomber pitcher helped her owe cause with a game-winning base hit.
Herring pitched a gem as she fanned 10 Tiger batters, including three in the top of the seventh. It was also her fourth win of the season and the second time she had the game-winning hit.
"What's happened to this team compared to teams in the past here, they don't give up," said Reimer. "From the number one batter to the number nine batter everybody hustles and there is no give up in them.
"We work so hard on aggressive baserunning and try to get every extra base we can. When we get someone on first, we expect that girl to get to third.
"We couldn't do it without Martina (Herring) and then she gets the game-winning hit."
Northwestern jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning as Hepler and Nicki Volk drew a pair of walks and both scored on a single by Kate Williams. Willams scored on a single by Lauren Horner.
Palmerton came back with four runs in the bottom of the third as Ritter singled and scored on a home run to centerfield by Elizabeth Raub. Katie Reimer singled, stole second and scored on a triple by Snyder. Snyder scored when Rickert reached on an infield error.
Arner singled in the fourth and courtesy runner Graver was pushed home on a single by Raab.
Northwestern scored four runs in the sixth as Tori Papp led off with a triple. Horner, Kyra Barron and Wear also scored, setting up the Bombers winning rally.
"What's killing us right now is some routine plays that need to be made," said Northwestern head coach Jen Horner. "Early in the game we had several opportunities to score, but we came up short. They can hit the ball well, but you have to make the plays defensively if you want to get the win."
Raub and Snyder finished with three hits, while Ritter and Arner added two each for Palmerton. Horner had two hits and Williams had three RBIs for the Tigers.
Northwestern 030 004 0 - 7 8 3
Palmerton 004 100 3 - 8 14 4
Boyer, White (5) and Wear; Herring and Arner. HR: Palmerton - Raub (third, one on). WP - Herring. LP - White.