Softball team ends successful season
Surely there was some dejection and tough feelings when Salisbury was eliminated from the District 11 playoffs by virtue of a 6-5 loss to Northern Lehigh. It’s likely that having had some time to reflect on the season, the players are realizing that their season was one to be proud of and could be a big step for the program as a whole.
Salisbury finished 17-8 on the year, with one loss coming in the Colonial League final and the other in the district semifinals. It’s been a while since the program had that sort of success and coach Jeff Appleman believes that there’s a lot for the program to be proud of from their 2017 season. The coach took a while after the final loss to the Bulldogs to congratulate his team on its accomplishments.
“I basically told them that it was a good season,” said Appleman. “We had a great year and they played really well, but we made some mistakes early in the game to give them some runs. Overall though I’m really proud of them. We had 17 wins and I don’t remember the last time that this program had 17 wins. “
While Northern Lehigh advanced to the district finals, Appleman pointed out how well his team played the Bulldogs in their four meetings this season, two of which went Salisbury’s way, with every game being close. He pointed out, too, that his team is younger than the one that it lost to in the semifinals, leaving a lot of hope for the future.
“I’m very happy,” said Appleman. “That was a very good team that we lost to today, and all of our games with them were very close this season. I’m very happy, because this is a young team and we only graduate two starters, although Brooke [Rogers] is going to be a big loss and so is Morgan [Goletz].”
If Appleman has a wish list, the top of the list has the program garnering the attention of other student athletes at Salisbury who might come out for the team next season. Appleman is hoping that perhaps some athletic soccer players might pick up softball as a second sport, because he’s got some young players who might serve as ambassadors with the soccer program.
“Hopefully, we get some numbers to come out,” he said. “We’ve only got one freshman on the team, but we’ve got some sophomores and at a little school like this, you have to hope that you get soccer players to come out and get some athletes. If we get more of them so we can build some numbers, it would be great. We’ve got a couple young players who play soccer, so maybe their experience here will rub off and attract other players.”
The next item on the wish list is just for his players to continue to develop their skills over the summer as they play for tournament teams. Appleman saw young players show progress this season and believes it will continue.
“They’re going off to their tournament teams now and I hope that they do well there and continue building good habits and I hope they remember how they feel here today and hopefully, not have that feeling again,” said Appleman. “We had some really high-end players and I’m really proud of some of the players who don’t play a lot of high-end tournament games, because they really came on. I think Gretchen [Helsel] at first base, had a great season and really came on for us, and she’s not alone in that.”