Becahi blanks Northwestern
Bethlehem Catholic is on a roll. And Northwestern got in its way Wednesday in the District 11 Class AAA softball playoffs.
The Lehigh Valley Conference champ Golden Hawks took out the Tigers, 10-0 in five innings to advance to Thursday's title game. They'll face No. 2 seed Pottsville, which beat Saucon Valley 5-2 in the other semifinal.
Bethlehem Catholic had 14 hits and took advantage of three Northwestern errors in Wednesday's win.
"We're jelling at the right time," said Hawk head coach Rich Mazza. "A lot of people picked us to win the LVC and halfway through the season I didn't think we had a prayer. But we started to come together and we jelled at the right time. That's kind of what we saw here today."
Bethlehem Catholic (15-6) went just 9-5 in LVC play, but beat top seeds Parkland and Liberty for the league title.
The Hawks have been hitting well and getting solid pitching from Joelle Morey, who limited Northwestern to two hits in the semifinal and saw solid defense played behind her.
The Tigers had two hard-hit balls to third base in the first inning. Both were played cleanly by the Hawks' Kate Yonders. They even had a base runner in scoring position in the second. Brooke Heller led off the inning with a single and advanced to third before Morey got out of the early jam.
Bethlehem Catholic left two runners on base in the first inning, but started scoring in bunches in the second.
The Hawks used two hits and two Northwestern errors to score a pair of runs in the second for a 2-0 advantage.
Morey got through the top of the third on just seven pitches, including striking out two Northwestern batters on three pitches each.
The Hawks increased their lead in the third, loading the bases on three one-out singles before two runs came across on Julia Madison's infield single and a Northwestern error for a 4-0 lead.
Four Bethlehem Catholic hits produced three more runs in the fourth inning as they went up 7-0 to close in on the mercy rule.
The Hawks went up 9-0 on two hits and a sacrifice fly in the fifth before the clinching run crossed on a Northwestern throwing error.
Five Bethlehem Catholic players had two or more hits in the game, led by Taylor Brady's 3-for-4 effort. Morey, who went 2 for 3 with two RBIs, struck out six and walked none.
"We played them in fall," said Northwestern head coach Jen Horner. "They're a great hitting team. They have a quality pitcher who changed speeds and throws an awesome change up."
The loss ends Northwestern's season. The Tigers (14-8) finish a successful year in which they won a district playoff game and nearly pulled off a league playoff upset.
"I'm really proud of what they've accomplished," said Horner. "We missed district playoffs by one game last year. They came back and made leagues and played the Colonial League champ Pen Argyl to a 4-3 loss. We were an out away. I'm very proud of them."
Northwestern 000 00 - 0 2 4
Bethlehem Catholic 022 33 - 10 15 0
Eden, Bennett (5) and Williams; Morey and Brady. W - Morey. L - Eden.