Salisbury Press

Wednesday, July 17, 2019
PRESS PHOTO BY LINDA ROTHROCKSalisbury Gretchen Helsel had four hits in Saturday’s win over Saucon Valley. PRESS PHOTO BY LINDA ROTHROCKSalisbury Gretchen Helsel had four hits in Saturday’s win over Saucon Valley.

Softball wins four of last six

Thursday, May 2, 2019 by TODD KRESs tkress@tnonline.com in Sports

It may be tough for Salisbury to find its way into the Colonial League softball playoffs with only four conference games remaining, but its district hopes are still very much alive. And the Lady Falcons are playing arguably their best softball of the spring right now.

Winners of four of its last six games, Salisbury (7-9 overall; 7-7 in Colonial League) capped last week with two strong performances against Catasauqua and Saucon Valley. After shutting out the Rough Riders last Wednesday, 15-0, the Lady Falcons picked up another shutout win over Saucon Valley on Saturday afternoon, 14-0.

“We had 19 hits [against Saucon Valley]—four hits for Gretchen Helsel, three for Krystal Aungst and Marcie Silberman, and a three-run home run from Emily Silberman,” Appleman said. “She also threw a no-hitter. It was a good game as we fielded well also.”

However, after those two big wins, Salisbury struggled to put any offense together in a 1-0 loss against Palmerton on Monday evening. It’s that loss that might have been the deciding factor in the Lady Falcons not returning to the Colonial League tournament after three straight appearances.

The Lady Falcons mustered just three hits and committed an error in that loss to Palmerton, which sits in a tie atop the West Division with Northwestern at 11-2 in league play. Salisbury was chasing one of the final two spots with Pen Argyl and Wilson, both of whom entered this week at 7-4 in conference action.

“We change the lineup constantly, trying to find the combination that works,” Appleman said of his team’s 29-run total in those two victories. “But it’s up to the players. If they work the counts to their favor, take advantage of those counts and swing hard, we hit well. Sometimes we’re not patient. You can tell the difference.

“We’re better defensively, but we give games away. One-run losses, where we had big leads against Wilson, Bangor and Southern Lehigh, I hope don’t wind up costing us.”

Wilson, Bangor and Southern Lehigh all look to be cemented in the league playoffs that are set to begin in mid-May. And the Lady Falcons had their opportunities in each game against those playoff-caliber teams.

But in all three contests Salisbury couldn’t put together a complete game. A one-run loss to Wilson on the first day of April seemed to be a foreshadowing of the rest of the month. Before that 29-run scoring outburst at the end of last week, Salisbury suffered one-run losses to both Bangor and Southern Lehigh by identical 6-5 scores.

“We’re young and inexperienced and it shows at times,” Appleman said. “Some of these kids are having their best seasons hitting, and some are hitting well now. Fielding has improved greatly and the pitching has been good. What we lack is getting out of innings. We don’t make that key play. If we start making that play, we can win those close games.”

Salisbury has two weeks left in the regular season, which includes games against Northern Lehigh and Palisades this week. First pitch against the Bulldogs on Wednesday is set for 4 p.m. at Northern Lehigh High School.

“We have a huge week ahead,” Appleman said. “We’ve won four of our last six, and I hope were gaining confidence. We hold our destiny in our hands, so it’s up to us to define it.”