SHS softball has chance to gain ground
If the Salisbury softball team hopes to qualify for the Colonial League tournament for the first time since 2004, the Falcons see the upcoming week as an opportunity to gain ground on that final spot.
Stationed at 6-8 in conference play as of Sunday, the Falcons sit a game-and-a-half behind Northern Lehigh (the current No. 6 seed and final position awarded) in this year's newly formatted six-team tournament. With four league games remaining, a win here or a loss there can make all the difference on whether those postseason aspirations become a reality.
Notre Dame (Green Pond) is 6-5 in the Colonial League and Northwestern is 7-6. Both are also in the running to qualify for the Colonial League tournament.
"We have four league games and obviously they are all important to us to try to get into the league playoffs," head coach Ken Choquette said. "The girls are quite psyched and quite ready for the challenge. We're looking forward to it."
Their schedule to end the season, however, isn't a walk in the park. Three of the Falcons' final four league games come against current playoff teams. The week began with a loss to Palmerton on Monday, a team Salisbury had beaten earlier in the season.
Salisbury will go on to faces Palisades on Friday and closes their season with Northwestern and Southern Lehigh (9-2) next Monday and Wednesday, respectively.
"I think our talent level is equal to those teams," Choquette said. "When we're playing our game, we have a very good opportunity to do something and get us into the league playoffs."
Things certainly looked bleak for Salisbury just a few games ago. After starting off 3-0 in the Colonial League, the Falcons had dropped their next seven conference games, five of which came by just one run each.
But the Falcons are now in the midst of another stretch, one that is going in their favor this time around. Salisbury has won three straight, including convincing victories against Moravian Academy (9-0) and Saucon Valley (10-5). But their most impressive win came in between those games, a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Northern Lehigh last Tuesday.
"The girls are feeling much better now after turning around a seven-game losing streak," Choquette said. "Now we're on a five-game winning streak. Even in that losing streak, we were competitive."
Down 2-0 against the Bulldogs after the top half of the first inning, the Falcons tied it up on Meagan Williams' single and run on a Northern Lehigh error and an RBI-single from Thayla Creswell.
When Northern Lehigh took the lead again briefly at 3-2 in the top of the fifth, the Falcons added two more runs in the bottom half of the frame to seal the victory.
"It was competitive down to scoring the tying run on a passed ball and then the winning run basically on a steal home," Choquette said. "It was good, aggressive base-running. Both were extremely close, competitive games [against Northern Lehigh], and luckily we were able to come out on top of one of those two. I think that helped turn the corner, and build confidence in this team that they could still stay competitive with anybody and beat anybody on any given day."