Marunich ignites NL to 15-5 win
Peyton Marunich wanted to provide Northern Lehigh with a little spark.
She ended up igniting an electrical storm - both literally and figuratively.
Marunich's two-run double in the fourth inning finally put the Northern Lehigh in front. One inning later, following a 51-minute lightning delay, the Bulldogs exploded for eight more runs to put the finishing touches on a 15-5 mercy-rule victory.
"I knew we needed a hit in that situation," said Marunich about her double down the left field line with two out and the bases loaded in the fourth inning that gave Northern Lehigh a 5-4 lead. "All season long our hitting has seemed to be contagious.
"So I was confident that if I could get a hit to give us the lead, we would just keep hitting and scoring."
That's exactly what happened.
Winning pitcher Julie Wagaman followed with a two-run single to center, capping the six-run outburst that put the Bulldogs ahead, 7-4.
"We seemed a little tight early in the game," said Northern Lehigh coach Brian Schell. "Catasauqua came in loose and with nothing to lose and jumped on us early.
"But once Peyton delivered her clutch hit to put us ahead, I think it relaxed everyone a little bit and we started swinging the bats pretty good."
Both teams then had almost an hour to think about the Bulldogs' fourth-inning rally as the lightning delay halted play.
"We've been down in a number of games this year and have rallied to win," said Marunich. "So we never panicked.
"It was nice to get that lead before the delay because we went back on the field with a lot of confidence."
When play resumed, Catasauqua (10-11) got one run back in the top half of the fifth.
Northern Lehigh then showed the delay didn't cool off its bats at all.
In the home fifth, the Bulldogs combined two walks, two fielders' choice ground balls where Catty failed to retire anyone, an error and four hits to end the game.
Jen Bet, Megan Filchner, Erika Bowman, Jocelyn Rodrigues, Tamara Stubits and Maggie Lear all drove in runs during the inning. Rodrigues' two-run single was the key hit while Lear's RBI single to right field ended it.
"We always tell the girls that hitting is contagious," said Schell. "One or two people start hitting the ball hard and before you know it everyone is.
"You can see how it puts pressure on the defense. You get some runners on base and then just put the ball in play and force the other team to make plays. All of a sudden things start to snowball and you end up with a big inning."
For the Bulldogs (17-6), Marunich finished with two hits, two runs scored, and three RBIs. Rodrigues and Bet both had two hits, two RBIs and scored twice. Also playing well were Stubits (two hits, three runs); Filchner (two runs scored, two RBIs); and Kayla Toth (two hits).
"I think we've proven during the year that we're not a one-dimensional team," said Schell. "In the Colonial League playoffs we won a pair of low-scoring games where our pitching and defense carried us. Today, we needed our offense to step up and it did.
"That's what you need at this time of the year. It's all about advancing. You just need to find a way and that's what our girls did."
The Bulldogs will now meet Colonial League rival Palmerton in the Class AA semifinals on Tuesday, tentatively set for 4 p.m. at Blue Mountain.
Catasauqua 020 21 - 5 6 2
No. Lehigh 001 68 - 15 13 3
Kern and Geseck; Wagaman and Bowman. W-Wagaman. L-Kern.