Softball falls in Colonial League title game
Salisbury coach Jeff Appleman isn’t afraid to issue intentional walks. When he walked Northern Lehigh’s Kaitlin Hoffman three times last week in the Colonial League championship game it looked like the strategy might work all three times. The third time was the charm for the Lady Bulldogs, who went on to beat Salisbury 5-3 to win their first Colonial League championship since 2010.
It wasn’t the first time this season that Appleman refused to let Hoffman beat his team. During a regular season game, he walked the Northern Lehigh leadoff hitter with the bases loaded to allow the Bulldogs to go up 6-5 in a game they eventually won 8-6.
The decisive sixth inning started with singles by Julia Wanamaker and Maddy Peters and with one out Appleman ordered the intentional walk to Hoffman. Salisbury got an out at home on a fielder’s choice groundball to bring Shyanna Williams to the plate. One night earlier, Williams had hit a game-tying double against Palmerton in a game eventually won by Northern Lehigh (16-3). This time, Williams found a little more open space and tripled to clear the bases and turn a 3-2 Salisbury lead into a 5-3 deficit.
“She hit a riseball that was rising and she tomahawked it out there, so give her the credit,” said Appleman. “We battled, but they’ve won a lot of games like this this season. I’m proud of our kids.”
Peyton Stauffer led the way for Salisbury (16-5) with two hits in the game.
It was the second straight season that Salisbury made it to the league finals after suffering through a long drought in Colonial League softball. Appleman believes that the best is yet to come for his team, which still has districts to look forward to this season and a bright future with a number of young players.
“We start three freshmen out there that don’t play tournament ball and they showed more discipline than some of my older kids,” said Appleman. “We have a lot that we can do yet. Don’t count us out for districts. We’re in 3A and there’s a lot of good teams in there, including [Northern Lehigh], but we’re not afraid of them. We’ll keep battling.
“I’m happy for the program and happy for the girls. We fight and I’m proud of that. I can’t say enough about these three freshman and about Emily [Silberman] throwing two games here today. I can’t take anything away from what we did, it’s just all the credit to them for beating us. She hit a good pitch there and sometimes that’s going to happen.”
Because of constant rainouts, the Falcons were put in a position where they had to play a semifinal game earlier in the day against top-seeded Bangor to even qualify for the finals. Salisbury jumped out to a big lead and held off a Bangor comeback attempt to win 12-7 before having just about two hours off before having to face Northern Lehigh. The Bulldogs were able to complete their semifinal game earlier in the week and came into the game more rested than Salisbury.
The Falcons enter District 11 playoffs as the fourth-seed in class 3A and will face Palmerton in their opener. The Falcons and Bombers split their two regular season games this year with the Falcons winning 8-0 in the first game and dropping the second game 5-1.
Salisbury placed three players on the Colonial League All-Star team, the most of any school in the league. Seniors Anna Bishop and Lilia Crouthamel along with sophomore pitcher Emily Silberman were all named to the team.
In last weeks’ Press, it was reported that Crouthamel is headed to the Penn State softball team as a walk-on. She is actually headed to State College as a preferred walk-on and was recruited to play for the Nittany Lions.