Falcons have playoffs in sight
The Salisbury softball team controlled its own destiny with two games remaining. It wasn’t be an easy road to qualify for the Colonial League tournament as the Falcons had to face the West Division’s top two teams in Northern Lehigh (13-4) and Southern Lehigh (13-4), but their fate was still in their own hands.
Even two losses could have positioned the Lady Falcons in the league tournament as one of the six qualifying teams, likely the sixth and final seed.
Instead, Salisbury left nothing to chance and took care of business. After a tough one-run loss to Northwestern last week, the Lady Falcons (14-5 overall, 12-5 Colonial League) righted the ship against division-leader Northern Lehigh with a 3-1 victory on Monday night.
Positioning is still cloudy and figures to become clearer on Wednesday when 10 of the 13 teams wrap up the regular season. But one thing is for certain: Salisbury has put itself in great shape to qualify for the league playoffs for the second time under head coach Jeff Appleman.
“This was a big game,” Appleman said. “We needed this to stay alive for a playoff spot. I don’t think we’ve qualified yet, but that would be huge for us.”
It was a combination of timely hitting and a spectacular pitching performance from freshman Emily Silberman that propelled Salisbury into the postseason.
Salisbury jumped in front 1-0 in the second inning when Morgan Goletz singled to bring home Silberman, who previously launched a triple into the outfield.
That score held briefly until Northern Lehigh tied things up at 1-1 in the fourth. Tiffany Yesik drove in Kaitlin Hoffman, who pitched all seven innings for the Bulldogs.
But Silberman, who allowed just three hits and struck out 14 batters, along with Brooke Rogers, who pitched two innings as well, kept the Bulldogs from generating a rhythm offensively.
“[We had] pitching and clutch at bats,” Appleman said. “Emily had 14 strikeouts and only allowed three hits. Morgan Goletz had a couple big at-bats, [as did] Brooke Rogers and Peyton Stauffer.”
Rogers’ double in the sixth inning gave Salisbury the lead back at 2-1. Shortly later, Peyton Stauffer’s sacrifice fly capped the Lady Falcons’ scoring.
It seems to be a wide open field, where any team can beat anyone on any given night. Salisbury has certainly proven that.
A Salisbury win on Wednesday in the season finale will clinch a Colonial League playoff berth. A Palmerton loss to Northern Lehigh would also get the Falcons in.
But the Lady Falcons do not want to leave anything up for chance. They realize what is at stake when the two teams begin play at 6 p.m. at Pates Park.
“Every team has strengths and weaknesses,” Appleman said. “It comes down to matchups. We would be a tough matchup for most teams.”