Bethlehem Press

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Parkland hands LHS first softball loss

Thursday, April 11, 2019 by chuck hixson Special to the Press in Sports

After rolling through their first five games with a margin of victory of 64-17, Liberty ran into the Parkland Trojans and the two teams battled hard until Parkland was able to put up four runs in the sixth inning to take a 5-1 win over the Lady Hurricanes.

Paige Zigmund was impressive on the mound, especially in keeping her composure through a tight and sometimes erratic strike zone. Even with those struggles, Zigmund struck out 11 batters in the game. Liberty (5-1 overall, 4-1 EPC) was also uncharacteristically erratic defensively, committing four errors that led to three unearned runs in the game.

“We’ve played pretty well defensively this year and when we have had some miscues, we were able to cover them up with our offense,” explained interim coach Barb Wismer. “Today we had some struggles defensively, but I’m not concerned about our defense going forward. We just ran into a really good with a really good pitcher and couldn’t overcome them today.”

Zigmund and the Hurricanes also had to battle opposing pitcher Kelly Dulaney, who struck out nine and walked two. Dulaney opened the game by retiring the first nine batters before Alanysse Solomon doubled to open the fourth inning. Solomon hit a long fly ball to left and didn’t stop while rounding the bases, looking to stretch the hit into a triple. The throw from left beat her to third and she was tagged out. Dulaney then rebounded to strikeout the next two batters.

Meanwhile, Parkland (8-1, 5-1) was able to get runners on against Zigmund, but had trouble coming up with a big hit to put the game away and stranded 12 runners on base in the game. They broke through for a run in the fourth when a two-out error put a runner on first and Renee Snyder then singled to right and another error on the play allowed Caroline Rivera to score from first base to make it 1-0.

The Lady Trojans opened the game up with four sixth inning runs, but didn’t hit a lot of balls hard in the inning. A leadoff walk was followed by a perfectly placed bunt by Rivera to put runners on first and second. Snyder then hit a ball through the middle that just deflected off Zigmund’s glove and traveled into center field for a base-hit that brought Olivia Ondrejca home to make it 2-0. Another well placed bunt loaded the bases and Dulaney lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to plate another run. Kylie Hlay then lifted a fly ball to right that was misplayed for an error and again loaded the bases. Zigmund then hit Megan Fenstermaker with a pitch to force home a run and one out later, walked pinch-hitter Ali Superka to push Parkland’s lead to 5-0.

“I think Paige [Zigmund] was a little frustrated by the strike zone, that kind of wears on you a little bit, but she handled it well,” said Wismer. “She pitched really well today and the score doesn’t really show that, but she really made pitches when she had to and she can be proud of her effort.”

If the Trojans thought Liberty was going to go down easily in the seventh, they were mistaken. With one out, Kat Borda singled to left and an error allowed her to go to second. Tori Panik then worked a walk before Alexa Burger singled to center to make it 5-1 with runners on first and third and two outs. Dulaney regrouped and got a ground ball to end the game.

“We knew this was going to be one of those games where we were playing a good team and we had to make plays and we came up a little short today,” said Wismer. “We’ll bounce back, the girls understand where we went wrong today and what we need to do better and it’s just a little bump in the road. I like the way we’re playing and we’ll come right back and pick up where we left off.”

The Hurricanes host Nazareth (3-4, 1-3) on Thursday and then play a nonconference game against Tunkhannock, also at home, on Saturday. They open next week at Whitehall (4-3, 3-2) on Monday and then host Emmaus (4-3, 3-2) Wednesday.