Bethlehem Press

Sunday, September 22, 2019
Press photos by Linda RothrockMarcus Nales looks to keep his balance during a play at second base in the EPC finals against Northampton. Press photos by Linda RothrockMarcus Nales looks to keep his balance during a play at second base in the EPC finals against Northampton.
Jack Borneman shows his disappointment after the Hurricanes fell to Northampton in the EPC finals. Jack Borneman shows his disappointment after the Hurricanes fell to Northampton in the EPC finals.

Liberty falls in EPC finals; looks to refocus for districts

Wednesday, May 22, 2019 by Peter Car pcar@tnonline.com in Sports

Liberty went through the entire East Penn Conference regular season without a hitch, winning all 16 of their league games. Then in last week’s EPC title game, they found out that none of that really mattered.

Northampton was able to topple the Hurricanes 3-1 for the EPC championship, giving the K-Kids the number-one seed in this week’s District 11 6A tournament.

It was a bitter pill for Liberty (20-3) to swallow not being able to finish the season with the league crown, as they haven’t won a league championship since 2003.

No matter how much last week’s defeat stings, the focus now shifts to districts, as Liberty opens with seventh-seeded Nazareth Wednesday afternoon.

Head coach Andy Pitsilos knows his team must move on from falling in the EPC championship and Nazareth will be the first step toward the healing.

“Nazareth is a good team and well coached,” said Pitsilos. “It will be a tough test.”

Liberty handed Nazareth a 12-2 loss earlier this season, as the Blue Eagles finished 11-9 this season. The Hurricanes, who sit on the opposite bracket of Northampton in the district race, would likely face Parkland in the semifinals should they win on Wednesday.

Getting over the mental and emotional sting from suffering a league championship loss can take time, but Liberty should be ready to roll with a district title still in play.

“We practiced the other day and the kids seemed all right,” said Pitsilos. “We just need to get the next game. We found out how important it is for pitchers to hit spots with any pitch at any time. Northampton’s pitcher did a great job of that.”

Bethlehem Catholic (9-10) opens the 4A postseason Wednesday at Wilson (15-5).

The Golden Hawks did not play Wilson this year and this will be the Warriors first glimpse of taking on an EPC team this season. Wilson was the second seed in the Colonial League playoffs, but lost to eventual champion Notre Dame 3-0 in the semifinal round.