Softball opens with win
When Bangor scored four runs in the sixth inning of Tuesday night’s regular season opener against Salisbury, there was a sense of déjà vu for the Lady Falcons.
Less than a year ago, the Slaters rallied to score five runs in the sixth inning of last year’s Colonial League championship game to down Salisbury. Four runs once again in the sixth inning last week cut the Lady Falcons’ lead to just two runs after Salisbury looked to be comfortable through five.
But unlike that game last spring when Bangor completed the comeback for its third league title in four years, this time Salisbury held off the late charge. The Lady Falcons (1-1) used a clutch double play in the seventh inning to put away Bangor (1-1) at Pates Park, 10-8.
Salisbury then came up short against Northern Lehigh the next day, 4-3.
“It feels great since we started last year off with a loss,” senior Anna Bishop said. “It was a positive way to start the season.
“The fact that our first win was against Bangor made it even more great because I knew we were capable of beating them not only last year, but this year, too. They are a good hitting team, but so are we. Our hitting was a key part in our victory, but I knew we can hit better than what we showed.”
Even holding a 10-4 lead after five innings, Salisbury players certainly felt a sense of nervousness when the Slaters opened the sixth with runners on the corners and no outs. Leadoff hitter Morgan Karasek drilled a triple to left field that scored Olivia Groller and Julie Rocco, cutting the Lady Falcons’ lead to 10-6.
The comeback was underway. Karasek would later score on a wild pitch, and Sarah Harvat’s RBI-single scored Jackie Hess to make it a 10-8 game.
“I know I did; the rest of the team did, too,” Bishop said of thoughts popping up from last year’s game. “I think the difference in this game was that we wanted it more than them. Not only physically, but mentally as well. We did a good job of picking each other up when one of us made an error or one of us wasn’t hitting.”
Salisbury remain composed. After a leadoff hit in the seventh kept Bangor’s comeback alive, Bishop helped turn a double play in the next at-bat. A fly out moments later ended the Slaters’ threat.
“I did have a little bit of a flashback because Bangor is one of those teams that you can’t sleep on,” Bishop said. “Once you get ahead, you need to put them away. Even though we won 10-8, I feel that we could have won by a lot more. We should have put them away earlier than we did, but I’m very happy that we won.”
In a back and forth game early, Bangor jumped on top 1-0 after a two-out RBI-double in the opening frame. That lead wouldn’t last long, though, as the Lady Falcons scored two in the bottom half of the first inning.
Bishop’s sacrifice fly scored Peyton Stauffer to tie the game at a run apiece. Then, pinch runner Julia Graver scored when Gretchen Helsel reached base on a Slater error later in the inning.
The seesaw went back and forth in the second inning when both teams added three runs, setting up a 5-4 lead for Salisbury early on. But that’s when the Lady Falcons’ opened the game up with an offensive explosion in the fourth.
Bishop (2-for-3, three RBIs, two runs) singled down the left field line to score Katherine Lovelidge and Stauffer. After a walk to starting pitcher Emily Silberman, Sara Lamana doubled to left field and brought home Lil Crouthamel, Bishop and Graver for a 10-4 lead.
Silberman picked up the win by pitching the entire seven innings and striking out eight batters.
The Lady Falcons next travel to Pen Argyl on Wednesday. Game time is set for 4 p.m.