The East Penn Conference baseball tournament gets underway this weekend and Liberty and Freedom are both vying for playoff berths as we hit the final week of the regular season.
The Hurricanes (13-4, 9-4) and Patriots (12-7, 10-5) both come into the week in position to finish as one of the top eight seeds.
Where they will land will ultimately be decided by this week’s slate of contests, as Liberty had to get through four league games, while Freedom only has two games on the docket.
Freedom’s girl lacrosse is making their first trip to the EPC playoffs when the tournament starts today. They’ll be squaring off against a common foe that has got the best of them of late.
Third-seeded Freedom will take on second-seeded Easton at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday night at Northampton in the opening round of the tournament.
Top-seeded Parkland will battle fourth-seeded Emmaus in the nightcap.
The Pates (12-5) have lost both games to the Rovers this season by 17-9 and 16-12 accounts. Easton also knocked Freedom out of the District 11 postseason last year as well.
Brandon Hall’s tenure as head coach of Freedom’s wrestling program came to an end recently.
After eight-years of leading the Pates, Hall won’t be back next season.
“It’s frustrating,” Hall said. “I can’t see myself coaching anywhere else because this is where I wanted to be, but they didn’t want to bring me back next year.”
Freedom principal Michael LaPorta offered his appreciation for Hall’s services, as the school looks for a new head coach.
Qualifying for the East Penn Conference volleyball tournament would be icing on the cake for the Pates season, but it might be too early to know if John Yanek and his crew will be getting an invite.
As the Pates swept Pocono Mountain East on Monday, they still weren’t sure if they would grab the fourth and final spot for next week’s tourney.
With Emmaus (15-0), Whitehall (14-2) and Parkland (11-4) seemingly as locks for the tourney, that leaves the final spot up for grabs between the Pates (13-5), Nazareth (12-5) Northampton (10-6) and Liberty (9-7).
Bethlehem Catholic’s dynamic duo of center Ryan Young and guard Justin Paz were honored for their stellar seasons last week when both were named as All-State selections.
Young, who is headed to Northwestern, was named to the 4A first-team after averaging 16 points and 12 rebounds per game. Young was also voted as the East Penn Conference MVP this season, helping the Hawks to a 28-4 season.
Becahi won the East Penn Conference and District 11 4A titles before falling to eventual state champion Imhotep in the PIAA semifinals.
Whitehall’s Saquon Barkley stole the show with the NFL Draft taking place last week, but he wasn’t the only local football player to hear his name called by NFL teams during the draft’s three-day event.
Barkley, the former Whitehall and Penn State running back, who was taken second overall by the New York Giants last Thursday, became the highest selection from the Lehigh Valley since Chuck Bednarik was taken first overall in the 1949 NFL Draft.
Liberty learned some lessons last week, but they also put themselves in positions to make a run down the stretch.
The Hurricanes (8-5) went 2-1 last week with a win over Parkland in five games and a sweep over Dieruff, but suffered a midweek defeat to Bethlehem Catholic in four games.
With so much parity in the East Penn Conference this season, it’s no surprise to see teams taking each other down on a nightly basis and that’s what head coach Neiad Ammary is seeing from his group as they head down the final 10 days of the regular season.
The Freedom girls lacrosse team has kept their winning ways on track this season and appear on the road to solidifying an East Penn Conference tournament berth.
The Patriots (11-5) have two games left on the schedule following Monday’s 13-10 defeat to Saucon Valley, closing out this week against Liberty on Thursday night.
That should allow the Patriots to enter the EPC tourney apart of the four-team pack with Easton (11-2), Parkland (12-3) and Emmaus (9-6).
Bethlehem Catholic picked up a big win over the weekend and you can say the Golden Hawks really needed it.
The Hawks (6-7) were able to bust out for 16 hits in a 16-11 win over Freedom over the weekend to snap a two-game skid where they lost to sub .500 teams like Northampton (6-8) and Dieruff (2-11).
The win, to say the least, was big not only from the standpoint of playoff positioning, but also from a mental perspective.
Jeff Karam thought about his coaching future heading into the 2017-18 wrestling season.
And then he kept thinking about it more and more when his son, Luke, earned a starting spot on Lehigh’s wrestling team this season.
With Luke having three more years of eligibility, Jeff didn’t want to miss anymore of those moments.
After a decade of dominance, Jeff Karam stepped down as Bethlehem Catholic’s wrestling coach last Friday, leaving behind a historical run with the program and opening up the doors for a new sheriff to take over the state’s top program.