Liberty and Freedom will both open up the District 11 6A playoffs at home Wednesday afternoon.
The second-seeded Hurricanes will look to bounce back from their loss to Parkland in the East Penn Conference championship last Friday night when they square off against Nazareth (No. 7 seed) or Pleasant Valley (No. 10 seed).
Freedom (16-5) faces a tricky opponent in their 4-5 matchup when Pocono Mountain East makes the trip to Bethlehem.
Andy Pitsilos said Gabe Albino had ice in his veins with Liberty’s playoff fate resting on his shoulders in the bottom of the seventh inning of Monday’s East Penn Conference baseball quarterfinal against Nazareth.
The top-seeded Hurricanes trailed 5-4, as Albino found himself behind 0-2 in the count with two outs and the bases loaded.
After only losing one league contest all season, Liberty was facing elimination in the first round of the league tournament.
Bethlehem is finally going to have a team in the Blue Mountain League once again.
Bethlehem Steel baseball is set to take the field this season and the squad will be part of the Lehigh Sports Association, playing home games at Gene’s “Field of Dreams” Complex.
Juan Carreras will be the team’s general manager and is excited about bringing adult baseball back to Bethlehem.
The Liberty Hurricanes won their first game of the East Penn Conference softball playoffs against Whitehall, 4-0, last Friday at Liberty before losing to Emmaus 3-2 in the semifinal on Monday night at Pates Park.
The Hornets had a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning until Liberty catcher Cailin Donegan tied the game with a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth.
Emmaus’s Abby Bartels hit a home run in the top of the eighth inning, and Liberty left two runners on base in the bottom of the eighth.
100 – 1. Julian Liaci (Naz) 10.67, 2. Eddie Brown (ESN) 11.04, 3. Julian Colon (Park) 11.15, 4. Khalil Edwards (PMW) 11.17;
200 – 1. Julian Liaci (Naz) 21.83, 2. Jahvanne Alexander (WA) 22.39, 3. Eddie Brown (ESN) 22.54, 4. Julian Colon (Park) 22.67;
400 – 1. Javier Hernandez (WA) 50.32, 2. Connor Tempro (Park) 50.85, 3. Omari Slocombe (ESS) 50.92, 4. Zahir Linton (Whi) 51.93;
800 – 1. Jacob Ringer (Park) 1:59.87, 2. Riley Williamson (Park) 2:00.01, 3. Stephen Krause (East) 2:00.29, 4. Luke Valdevit (PV) 2:00.59;
After a three-run first inning, Freedom held control of their quarterfinal matchup against Emmaus, but the Hornets finally broke through in the bottom of the seventh, scoring three times to walk-off with a 4-3 win. The loss eliminated Freedom from the EPC Playoffs, and puts Emmaus into the semifinals against Parkland.
Bethlehem Catholic advanced to the semifinal round of the East Penn Conference Softball Tournament but lost to Parkland 4-1 on Monday night at Pates Park.
The Hawks were hoping for redemption after an earlier season loss to the Trojans.
“I thought we played extremely well against Parkland [the first time] even though we lost,” said Becahi coach Rich Mazza, “but I take the blame because sometimes I think I try to get them too pumped up.”
Liberty’s Darian Street rose to the challenge and clinched the gold medal in the long jump at the East Penn Conference Track and Field Championships last Wednesday at East Stroudsburg South High School.
“Yes, I felt a little challenged today. Thank God I pulled through,” Street said.
Street’s jump was 22-03.75. Pleasant Valley’s Michael Mitchell placed second with a 21-11.50.
“I was getting a little nervous, but I thought I have to go for it,” said Street. “I wasn’t getting enough height on takeoff, and I hurt my ankle on one, but it’s fine.”
Liberty’s number one doubles team of Dan Lynn and Louis Gruber became District 11 doubles tennis champions after winning their match against Hurricane teammates Luke Conrad and David Lynn 6-4, 6-1 last Friday at Winning Touch in Allentown.
“It feels great,” said Dan Lynn. “We’re a good combination, and we gelled. Louis was great, and he always finds a way to make the shot.”
Accustomed to playing more singles than doubles, Lynn and Gruber had to play with a different strategy.
Freedom also held a signing ceremony for their college bound student-athletes last week, as 21 Patriots were honored for their commitment heading to the next level.
Four of the 21 listed are heading to Division-I programs, as Evan Callahan not only leads the list on the athletic scale, but also academically, as he’ll wrestle at Harvard.
Teammate Ryan DeLoach will wrestle at D-I Campbell University in North Carolina, while Camryn Spina (cheerleading) will attend Rutgers and Reilly Ward will swim at Monmouth to round out the D-I athletes.