Lady Bulldogs reach 2A final
nancy scholz/Special to THE TIMES NEWS Palmerton's Michelle Rickert rounds first base after hitting a single in the fifth inning as Northern Lehigh first baseman Sarah Frantz waits for tje throw.
Experienced softball teams take advantage of any breaks their opponents give them and usually come away with a win.
That was the case in the District 11 Class 2A semifinal between Palmerton and Northern Lehigh on Tuesday afternoon when the Bulldogs used one big inning to pull away for a 8-3 victory.
Brian Schell's Bulldogs made the most of four Palmerton errors and just one hit to score four runs in the fifth inning to grad the win that earned them a spot in the championship game on Thursday against Pine Grove ( a 8-0 winner over Pen Argyl) at Blue Mountain at 4 o'clock.
With the score tied at 3-3, the young Bombers came unglued and the Bulldogs did enough damage to seal the win.
"That's the sign of a veteran team and the sign of one that has a lot of confidence in itself," Schell noted. "This team has that. They have confidence in each other and they have confidence that no matter was the score is they can come back. They are a very level-headed group of kids. They just hang in there."
Peyton Marunich, Julie Wagaman and Jocelyn Rodrigues all reached on errors and Tamara Stubits doubled before the Bombers could record an out. All four scored in the inning, which also saw Maggie Lear reach on an error.
"To come back and score after they tie it up twice was really the key," Schell said. "We're just going to keep hanging there and then we usually get that one inning where we explode and that's been kind of our ammo all season."
The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Erika Bowman reached on a base hit and wound up at third on an outfield error. She scored on a sacrifice fly by Wagaman.
The Bombers struck right back in the top of the second. Jen Snyder reached on a fielder's choice, stole second, went to third on an infield single by Sara Lucykanish and scored on a fielder's choice by Kelly Arner.
In the third, Palmerton jumped out to a 2-1 lead when Martina Herring beat out an infield grounder for a hit and courtesy runner Vicki Graver took over and scored on a single by Liz Raub.
Back came the Bulldogs, however.
Megan Filchner led off with a triple in the bottom of the third and scored on a single by Bowman. Marunich reached on a fielder's choice, stoled second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice by Rodrigues.
Palmerton came back to tie it for the last time in the top of the fifth. Michelle Rickert singled, moved to second on a fielder's choice, went to third on a sacrifice fly and scored on a single by Raub.
After the four-run fifth, the Bulldogs added an insurance run in the sixth when Wagaman, who singled, was knocked in on a single by Stubits.
"This team has made it their goal to get there (the district championship) this year," said Schell. "Last year we got into the league and district playoffs and this year, that wasn't going to be enough for this team. They wanted to make it to the final and they did."
Wagaman was the winning pitcher, striking out seven without giving up a walk. Herring suffered the loss.
Stubits and Bowman had two hits each for Nolehi (18-6). Raub had two hits and two RBIs for the Bombers (11-11).
"You've got to give them credit," said Palmerton head coach Glenn Reimer, proud of the season his girls just completed. "Every time we got a run, they got a run. They didn't let up on us and we tried not to let up on them. In the end one bad inning, a couple of errors, gave them the runs that were the difference.
"All in all it was a great season. We totally came here today to win this game. We were prepared, they just outplayed us and they deserve to play for the championship."
Palmerton 011 010 0 - 3 7 5
No. Lehigh 102 041 x - 8 9 1
Herring and Arner; Wagaman and Bowman. W - Wagaman. L - Herring.