Falcons, NL have budding CL rivalry
A bit of a rivalry is brewing between the Salisbury and Northern Lehigh softball teams.
Dating back to the 2017 season, the teams have met five times. Northern Lehigh holds the edge with three wins compared to Salisbury’s two. Both have won on the biggest stages. Salisbury earned a 3-2 upset win in the Colonial League playoffs last year; Northern Lehigh grabbed a 6-5 victory in the District 11 Class 3A semifinals.
The most recent chapter also went in favor of the Bulldogs. Northern Lehigh edged Salisbury, 4-3, to close out the month of March. But since then, the Lady Falcons have shown their ability to fight back, winning their next two games relatively easily.
Following their first loss of the season, the Lady Falcons responded the next day with a 7-1 nonleague win over Dieruff. Then Salisbury (3-1 overall, 2-1 in Colonial League) dispatched of Palmerton last Thursday, 8-1.
“It felt really good,” said junior second baseman Hannah Lipkin of responding after that loss. “I think we know what we need to work on. So we took those, practiced and worked hard.
“It was a little bit of back and forth. We really tried to stay in the game. In the last inning we almost came back at the end. It was really close.”
The two teams didn’t expect anything other than a close game. In the last five games combined, each team has scored a total of 16 runs. No game has been decided by more than two runs, and four of the five contests came down to just a single run.
It was a different story against Dieruff and Palmerton.
The Lady Falcons jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first quarter against the Blue Bombers, and added a run in each of the second and third inning. Salisbury put the game away with three more runs in the sixth to cap its 13-hit day. Lipkin was one of three Lady Falcons with two hits; senior Anna Bishop recorded three hits in the win.
Against Dieruff, sophomore pitcher Emily Silberman was equally impressive in both the batters box and on the mound. She recorded two hits in the 7-1 victory, including a homerun, and pitched a three-hit complete game against the Huskies. Salisbury’s explosion against Dieruff came in the fourth inning when it scored four runs.
Despite the obstacles that the recent weather has thrown their way, the Falcons have adjusted to practicing inside for much of the past couple of weeks. While inside the high school’s gymnasium, they worked on their hitting a great deal, which has transitioned onto the field now that the snow has melted.
“We really tried to utilize our indoor practice,” Lipkin said. “You practice what you can when you’re inside. We made use of our hitting. We kept going and we kept pushing it.”
Much like the two faced off twice in the postseason last spring, many expect both squads to compete for Colonial League and District 11 titles once again in 2018. Only time will tell which team will push forward in this growing rivalry.
“I think we just have to focus on doing what we need to do, and remembering what we’ve been working on and practicing,” said Lipkin, who enters her first season as a full-time starter under head coach Jeff Appleman. “I’m really excited to see how the season goes and see what we can do.”