Bombers edge Nolehi
rich george/special to the times news Palmerton's Janel Tracy forces Northern Lehigh's Kelsey Follweiler (21) at second base.
Over his first three years as the Palmerton head softball coach, Glen Reimer hasn't had much luck against Northern Lehigh.
Wednesday afternoon, the Lady Bombers showed those days might be numbered as they scored a 8-3 victory over their Colonial League North Division rival Bulldogs.
"Since I have been coaching here, we were 1-7 against Northern Lehigh and now we're 2-7," said Reimer. "It doesn't matter what the records are. It doesn't matter what time of the season it is. It's Northern Lehigh.
"So, this is huge. It's a rivalry game and just to beat them it's always a huge boost of confidence for our program."
There was no better person to gain a boost in confidence playing their rivals than Martina Herring. Entering the game, the Blue Bombers' senior ace had just one win (a 6-0 shutout on the last day of the regular season) against the Bulldogs in five tries on the mound.
Herring pitched a complete game, firing eight strikeouts, allowed four walks.
After Herring shut the Bulldogs down in order to start off the game, the Bombers' senior Michelle Rickert and freshman Janel Tracy got things going with back-to-back singles. Rickert was able to score on a wild pitch. With Tracy sitting on second, it set the table for Herring to help herself out. She laced a two-run homer to give the Bombers a quick 3-0 lead.
The Bombers (6-1 overall; 4-1 CL) added another run in the fourth when Steph Buck scored as Tracy recorded her second hit of the day, an RBI-single.
After Herring retired 10 of the first 12 batters she faced, the Bulldogs' Amber Kibler and Amber Thomas spoiled any chance of a no-hitter. They slapped back-to-back singles to open the fourth. Kibler went on to score on a Megan Filchner single and Thomas crossed home plate on a wild pitch, which made it a 4-2 game.
In the fifth, the Bombers' Sierra Miller stepped into the spotlight to give Herring and her team some insurance. In only her second game back after suffering a concussion, the senior bettered Herring's two-run shot with a three-run blast to right- center. Teammate Lauren Campbell capped the four-run fifth as she scored on a wild pitch after reaching base on a single.
After watching teammates Tracy, Steph Brinker and Campbell deliver home runs on Monday against Catasauquas, Miller said it was the Bombers' focus on hitting that paid off at key times in the win.
"We have been hitting the ball really well lately," Miller said. "At practice, we're always hitting live pitching and that always helps us when it comes to game time.
"I think we make good contact with the ball because we tend to focus a lot on hitting. And today it showed."
Although the Bulldogs fell to 3-5 overall (1-4 CL) in his first season, Jon DeFrain was simply glad his team kept its composure throughout the setback.
"I'm happy that we didn't really get rattled," DeFrain said. "Sure, they had some big hits and things like that, but we didn't let it get to us and we stayed in it until the end. We just didn't get the hits and we just can't make errors. We're a young team.
"We have to start strong like we did the other day (in Tuesday's 14-3 win over Jim Thorpe). Today was a different day and we didn't do it. This is a result of it."
No. Lehigh 000 201 0 - 3 7 3
Palmerton 310 040 x - 8 8 1
Horwath, Thomas (5) and Filchner; Herring and Campbell. W - Herring. L - Horwath. HR - Palmerton: Herring (1st, one on), Miller (5th, two on).