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Whitehall softball team set for EPC playoffs

With the regular season now complete, the Whitehall softball team will look to apply the same energy and focus into a postseason run.

After finishing 18-2 this year, the Zephyrs showed that they’re well positioned to make a strong showing when the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playoffs commence this week. Whitehall is set to host a quarterfinal match on May 13 against an opponent yet to be determined.

The Zephs are among three teams in the league who’ve suffered just two losses throughout the 2021 campaign, and it will make for a dynamic EPC title chase as they vie for the championship.

The Zephyrs have a lot of key factors in their corner as they begin their march down the postseason path. First, they have an established group that’s had postseason experience. That should bode well for this team as they embark on that journey. Many of this year’s squad were on the field when they played in the district finals against Parkland in 2019. Head coach Blake Morgan said that six of his current players were starters on that team, while a number were also contributing off the bench as well.

They’re strong in the circle, at the plate, and in the field. That combination will make them a tough out in the playoffs. They scored 194 runs this season, while allowing just 32.

They’re also on fire, winners of their last 15 games heading into the postseason.

Morgan’s approach this season was optimism mixed with caution. It was great to get back onto the field, but he knew it could get derailed at any moment. However, they played 20 games this year with just some minor blips, and that was his first goal, making it to the finish line.

“We’re very thankful for that,” he said.

He’s always viewed the season in separate sections, and once their offseason work is complete, the second phase is the regular season. And they closed that portion out with a resounding bang.

“That chapter’s closed and it’s off to the playoffs, said Morgan. “We hope everybody stays healthy as we get ready to play.”

While they had great success during the regular season, Morgan knows that the circumstances change in the postseason where they’ll face other accomplished teams. Even with all that success, he knows that one thing is vital to their postseason future.

“It’s just not berating ourselves,” said Morgan.

The EPC playoffs will feature Parkland, Northampton, Freedom, as well as a few other teams who are capable of claiming a championship. Morgan said that’s it’s crucial to go out and play your game.

“Teams don’t need help beating you,” said Morgan. “They’re all good enough that they don’t need our help.”

That will be the main message as they head into the playoffs. He’s also stressing the importance of playing clean games. That falls into the category of not beating themselves.

He also has one of the best pitchers in the league to lead them on that journey, and having Madison Cunningham continue throwing as well as she’s been doing all season, will be another key factor.

Finally, he said that they must have productive at-bats.

They’re now ready for this next chapter and it’s full of players with postseason experience including Cunningham, Meghan Hutter, Abby Reese, Abby Vivian, Lindsey Gawrys, Mackenzie Laub, and Kendra Fox. They’ll also rely on Jessica Spanitz, Emma Bonshak, Kate Yadush, Briane Aquila, Paige Donahue, Madison Lasko, Allison Pavone and Aubrey Steiner.

He’s also grateful that this crop of seniors will get to experience the postseason. He also understands that the playoffs coincide with prom and graduation, so it’s important to avoid distractions as the league and district playoffs get underway.

“It’s just staying focused,” said Morgan. “It’s a special opportunity that they have.”

He said it’s important for them to do what they need to do to accomplish their goals. And it doesn’t hurt that this team has been on a roll as they look to peak heading into this next chapter.

Press photo by Linda Rothrock Abigail Reese and the rest of the Zephs are getting ready for the EPC playoffs to start later this week.