Softball looks to build on last year’s success
The Salisbury softball team felt the agony of defeat in the worst way last season.
With a five-run lead in the Colonial League championship game, the Lady Falcons needed just six outs to secure their first ever league title. Instead, Bangor fought all the way back for comeback victory. Two games later, Salisbury’s season came to an end in the district semifinals, capping their season with a 17-8 record (12-6 in Colonial League).
But the Lady Falcons are looking to put that heartbreak behind them with the 2018 season just days away.
“Our goals will be to win the Colonial League and districts, and then to advance in the state tournament,” head coach Jeff Appleman said. “Our goals will be the same every year.”
The goals may be the same for Appleman and the Lady Falcons, but Salisbury hasn’t been as close as it was last season in quite some time. It was the first time since 1990 that the program had advanced to the league title game.
But 2018 is a new year. The Lady Falcons graduated two hitters that batted .375 or higher in Brooke Rogers (.444 average, 33 runs and six wins on the diamond) and Morgan Goletz (.375 average, 19 runs). However, much of last year’s Salisbury’s team returns this spring.
“We need to replace four starters from last year,” Appleman said. “That is always a challenge at a small school. The mental approach will be critical. We need to be mentally tougher and more mature. We have the players. Will they push themselves to the next level will be the key.”
Senior Lil Crouthamel, Salisbury’s leading hitter last year with a .523 average to go along with 37 runs, 36 RBIs and seven steals, leads that Lady Falcon charge. But she’ll have plenty of help throughout the lineup.
Senior Anna Bishop returns in the infield after hitting .439 with 29 runs and 31 RBIs. Junior Peyton Stauffer (.400 average, 28 runs, six steals), junior Gretchen Helsel (.353 average, 17 RBIs) and sophomore Emily Silberman (.383 average, 22 runs, 35 RBIs, seven homeruns) provide nice balance from top to bottom.
Silberman will also be the main option for Salisbury on the mound. In her first season on the high school stage, Silberman collected 11 wins with 95 strikeouts. She shut down many teams, and Appleman expects more of the same in her sophomore season.
“We expect to be strong in all phases—pitching, hitting and fielding,” Appleman said. “We expect them to be mentally tough.”
Junior Sara Lamana, who missed all of last season with an ACL injury, is expected to return this spring season to provide even more depth for Salisbury. And Appleman is welcoming in a core of freshman, including Krystal Aungst, Julia Graver, Katherine Lovelidge and Rory Watson who can all provide a spark if inserted into a game.
The Lady Falcons open their regular season against Bangor next Monday. Game time is set for 4 p.m. at Salisbury Middle School.