Softball tops SL
Lil Crouthamel spent the last two seasons, as well as half of this spring, behind home plate catching for pitcher Emily Silberman.
But after a two-game skid, head coach Jeff Appleman made a change, putting Crouthamel back to her natural position in center field. The move paid huge dividends against rival Southern Lehigh last week.
With the game-tying run at second base in the seventh inning, Southern Lehigh’s Zoey Ritter singled to center field to send that runner home. But Crouthamel, lurking in shallow center field, threw out the game-tying run at home to preserve the 11-10 win for Salisbury (10-3) last Thursday at Patriots Park.
“This was my second game back in the outfield,” Crouthamel said. “I missed that one that I dove for, so I played a little bit in. And right when I saw it was hit to me, I knew that if he sent her she was going to be dead.”
Two batters earlier, Crouthamel’s diving attempt at the final out was inches short as she trapped the ball on the ground. Lia Boyd’s RBI-single scored Chloe McNulty and kept Southern Lehigh’s comeback bid alive. But when she had a second chance, Crouthamel didn’t squander it and threw a rocket home to get the final out.
“Lil was actually behind the plate in most of our other games, and this was her second game in the outfield,” shortstop Anna Bishop said. “Sara [Lamana] was playing third, but now that she is back there. I’m confident in her. And I’m confident with the outfield.”
Crouthamel’s defense took center stage late, but it was the offense that woke up after scoring just two runs combined in that two-game losing streak. And it got going right away.
After Bishop (4-for-4, 5 RBIs) singled to center field to score Peyton Stauffer (4-for-4, 4 runs) in the first inning, the Falcons added two more in the bottom of the third to tie the game at 3-3. Stauffer led off the frame with a triple, and a triple from Crouthamel two batters later brought her home. Crouthamel scored on her at-bat on a throwing error by Southern Lehigh.
“We were saying that we had to come into this game and swing hard,” Bishop said. “This was perfect pitching for us, and I think it really helped us and boosted our confidence going into our next games forward.”
After the two-game skid, which included a 7-1 defeat to Wilson and a 5-1 setback to Palmerton, the Falcons’ offense woke up in an 18-0 win over Moravian Academy last week. But it wasn’t until that Southern Lehigh victory that the offense seemed to find its groove.
Salisbury erupted for six more runs in the fourth inning to take an 9-3 advantage over the Spartans. Emily Silberman’s RBI-single and Bishop’s two-run single highlighted the scoring onslaught. Lamana and Gretchen Helsel also recorded RBIs in the frame.
Two more runs in the fifth inning, set up by a Bishop two-run single, pushed the lead to 10-4 before Southern Lehigh got the comeback underway. Danielle Barnes’ two-run triple was a part of a five-run sixth inning for the Spartans.
“Even against Moravian we couldn’t hit well,” Crouthamel said. “I think we all came together and we knew we just had to hit and do our part.
“We just had to grind it out. We’re known for kind of getting into that seventh inning, bottom of the seventh tied, so we just had to really grind it out. This season so far we haven’t had one like this, but last year we had a lot.”
Julia Graver was impressive at the plate as well, scoring two runs and recording a key double in that fourth-inning rally. Bishop recorded her 100th career hit in the win. Crouthamel reached the feat a couple games prior.
The Falcons picked up a 20-0 win Monday over Catasauqua. They were scheduled to host Palisades on Tuesday, Northwestern on Friday, Northern Lehigh next Monday and Palisades Tuesday before finishing the regular season next Wednesday, May 9, at Southern Lehigh.
With five games left the Falcons were a half game behind first place Northern Lehigh (10-3) in the Colonial League West Division and a full game behind East Division leader Bangor (10-2) for the top seed in the league playoffs.