Just about midway through the regular season, Wilson beat Salisbury 7-1. The Lady Warriors hoped that would be much the same story when the two teams met in the wild card round of the Colonial League playoffs, but the Falcons had other ideas.
Salisbury (15-4) put together a four-run third inning and topped off the game with a five-run fifth inning for a 10-0 win and a ticket to the league semifinals.
Emily Silberman not only pitched a gem and struck out seven hitters, she provided some power offensively when she launched a solo home run over the left-center field fence in the fourth inning. She also had two singles in the game, the first of which drove in a run in the Falcons four-run third inning. Lil Crouthamel also went deep when she lofted a ball out of Patriots Park to center field for a two-run shot in the fifth.
“Considering that they beat us in the regular season, I thought it was great to 10-run rule them and get it over with,” said Falcon shortstop Anna Bishop. “Now we get to play Bangor and we’re ready for them.”
The first three hitters in the lineup – Peyton Stauffer, Crouthamel and Silberman – were a combined 8-for-12 with five runs scored and five runs driven in against Wilson. Throw the next two batters – Bishop and Sara Lamana – into the mix, the top five hitters were 12-for-19.
“I talked to the Southern Lehigh coach [Brian Neefe] and he said the top of our lineup is very scary, and I think that he’s right,” said coach Jeff Appleman, who believes his team is playing very confidently at this point of the season. “The top of our lineup has been really good and that’s not to say that the rest of our lineup doesn’t hit because they do, but the top of our lineup has been great this season.”
Crouthamel pointed out that an improved Salisbury defense and Silberman’s strong outing played a big part in turning around the outcome of the previous game against Wilson this season.
“Emily was really on today and had a lot of strikeouts, which really helped us,” said Crouthamel. “We made a few errors the first time that we played them, so we were able to minimize that this time around and Emily was great.”
The win sets up a rematch of last year’s Colonial League championship game with Bangor, only this year the two teams are meeting in the semifinals. The Slaters have won the Colonial League each of the past two seasons with last year’s game against Salisbury ending in a wild 12-11 finish.
Ironically, Salisbury and Bangor opened the season facing each other this year and Salisbury took a 10-8 decision at home. Appleman believes his players are excited about the opportunity to play Bangor again in the postseason and the players all believe that they are the better team. In fact, some believe that beating Bangor is just a step along the way toward even bigger things. Even with that confidence, they’re not allowing themselves to look ahead.
“I’m thinking, and our coach is thinking the same, that we can make it to states,” said Bishop. “But we have to get through Colonial League first and then think about districts.”
See next week’s Press for coverage of the remainder of the Falcons’ Colonial League playoffs games.