SHS softball team eyes district tourney berth
Heading into Friday's game, Salisbury needed to win two of its final three games to qualify for the district tournament for the second time in as many seasons.
The Falcons cut their magic number to one after a dominat showing against Palisades.
On what was Salisbury's senior night, the Falcons (8-9 overall, 7-8 in Colonial League) exploded for 10 runs in the bottom of the first inning and were never threatened en route to their 11-3 victory over the Pirates at Pates Park. With two games remaining (Monday against Northwestern and Wednesday against Southern Lehigh), one more victory advances the Falcons to postseason play.
"It was really good to get this first win, so we can just focus on the next two games to move on," senior Melissa Kugler said. "Hopefully we can carry this win into the next game."
Already holding a 1-0 lead, RBI-hits from Rachel Costantini (4-for-4, 1 RBI), Laura Costello and Kugler (2-for-4, 2 RBIs) made it 4-0 with just one out. Thayla Creswell and Morgan Goletz added back-to-back singles to load the bases, and Emily Baatman's walk brought home Kugler moments later.
While the Falcons' bats were hitting on all cylinders in the first inning, a number of errorssix on the eveningdidn't help the Pirates.
A dropped ball in left field during Anna Bishop's at-bat scored both Creswell and Goletz to boost Salisbury's lead to 7-0. Brooke Rogers (2-for-4, 2 runs) added a walk, Batman scored on a wild pitch, and RBI-singles from Meghan Williams and Kugler brought home the ninth and 10th runs of the inning, one in which the Falcons sent 15 batters to the plate.
"We were really pumped up coming into the game, and we just carried it [into the game] and focused," Kugler said. "We did great and really stepped up."
Palisades got on the scoreboard in the fourth inning following consecutive RBI-doubles from Kaylin Stenson and Karlee Krchnavi. The Pirates then cut Salisbury's advantage to 10-3 in the sixth when Bailey Keebler (2-for-3, 1 RBI) singled to center field and scored Krchnavi.
But that's all Palisades' offense was able to muster with Costello on the mound for the Falcons. Costello pitched six innings, allowing the three runs on six hits. She struck out five batters as well.
The Falcons' trio of seniors Williams, Kugler and Creswell have played together all four years at Salisbury. They're hoping this final go-around ends in a repeat appearance in the district tournament.
"It was so nice because I've been playing for four years," Kugler said of senior night. "Our team has really become a big family. It's so nice for all of us to come together, play well and come out with a big win."
Results from Monday's game against Northwestern were not available at time of press. Their regular season finale is on Wednesday against Southern Lehigh at Salisbury Middle School. Game time is 4 p.m.