Falcons compete in tournament
There’s isn’t anything that can make up for what the Class of 2020 has lost to the school and sports shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
But last week’s Lehigh Valley Softball Showcase certainly brought a bit of joy to some players who missed their entire high school season. And that goes double for high school seniors, most of which were hoping to have their best and most productive year during their final season.
Salisbury senior Emily Silberman had a lot to look forward to a few months ago as she prepared for her last season as the Falcons’ ace pitcher. The only senior on the team’s roster, she would have been the team’s starting pitcher, one of its top hitters and a leader on and off the field. She also had some personal reasons to look forward to her senior season as she was nearing a softball milestone and was going to play on the same team as a few people she’s known her entire life.
“It was really tough,” Silberman said of hearing the news that the 2020 season was canceled. “There were a lot of records I wanted to break. I was four hits away from getting my 100th hit. It was rough but I’m really glad that we could do this and I could get to play with the girls one last time.”
The tournament, which was held last Tuesday through Thursday at Moore Township and Coca-Cola Park, allowed Silberman to play once more event with her sister Marcie as her teammate. Marcie made the varsity team as a freshman 2019.
This year was also going to be the first year that Emily got to play on the same team as her cousin, Haylee, a rising freshman who batted leadoff for the Falcons in the tournament.
“I played with Marcie last year and I loved it, she caught for me,” said Emily Silberman. “I never got to play with my cousin so it was really cool being able to play with my family.”
The Silberman’s occupied the first three spots in Salisbury’s batting order in both games of the showcase, as Emily hit second and Marci batted third in the order.
The Falcons lost both of their tournament games, falling 6-5 in four innings against Liberty and 6-1 in six innings against Wilson. Games were played on time limits so many didn’t get through the full seven innings.
Marcie Silberman led the way offensively. She went 2-for-2 against Wilson, including an RBI triple that scored pinch runner Riley Knecht, who was on base for Emily Silberman after Emily hit a one-out single in the first inning.
Emily went 1-for-2 against Wilson, while teammates Bailey Neitz and Katherine Lovelidge also had one hit each in two at bats.
“We almost beat Liberty,” said Salisbury head coach Jeff Appleman. “We had them beat. We had a lot of kids that battled.
“We had a lot of young kids here today. It was good to see a lot of the young kids here today. We don’t play year-round and a lot of other teams do.”
Against Wilson where the Falcons saw an early 1-0 lead slip away, Appleman said his players didn’t catch on to Warriors’ hurler Mikayla Smith, who allowed just five hits over six innigs.
“We have to adjust,” Appleman said. “She threw nothing but outside. If you don’t adjust to it, you start hitting weak hits off the end of the bat. Life’s about adjustment. You have to adjust pitch to pitch, not just at bat to at bat.”
Several Falcons had one hit each against Liberty, including Emily Silberman, Krystal Aungst, Neitz, Kayla Trenge and Lovelidge.
The tournament used a pool-play format. Sixteen teams were divided into four pools with one winner advancing from the pool play round at Moore Township Park to Thursday’s semifinals and finals at Coca-Cola Park.
Northampton advanced from Salisbury’s division with a 6-2 win over Wilson and a 5-1 victory over Liberty.
The Konkrete Kids were joined in the semifinals by Parkland, Freedom and Notre Dame (Green Pond).
Freedom beat Notre Dame in Thursday’s first semifinal, then Parkland knocked off Northampton to set up the final.
Parkland overcame a 2-0 first-inning deficit to win the tournament 6-2.
The Trojans might have taken home the trophy, but every team and every player was a winner last week just for getting back on the field.
“I think it was great for us,” said Appleman. “We have a lot of kids who don’t play year-round. They all came out for Emily today. She’s our only senior.”
When he first heard news of the event, Appleman contacted his only senior and told her that if she wanted to play in it, he’d find enough players to field a team. The Falcons had over a dozen players on the roster for the event. Teammates were more than happy to come out for their senior teammate, who thanked them all after their final game.
“It was really nice to get to play with all the girls again,” said Emily Silberman, who won’t be far away for the next four years as she is headed to Moravian College to continue her education and softball career.