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Trojan softball falls in semifinal

It took until their seventeenth batter for Northampton to have a base runner against Parkland, but Ren Herschman scored the only run of the game in the District 11 semifinal clash between the Konkrete Kids and the Trojans.

Parkland ace Katie Zaun had been masterful through five and a third innings, striking out 12 of the first 16 Northampton batters, when Herschman stepped to the plate. The K-Kid senior stayed alive by fouling off the first 1-2 pitch that she saw and then drove a tailing line drive to right field that allowed her to race all the way to third.

Zaun struck out the next Northampton hitter for the second out in the top of the sixth. On the first pitch of her at bat, Rilee Ehrlacher hit a soft liner just in front of the center fielder for a single to plate Herschman.

For the Trojans, it was a case of missed opportunities. Their lineup produced leadoff doubles in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh innings yet they could not score a run to stave off the end of their season.

In the fourth inning, Northampton erased the threat by turning a 6-3-5 double play when Devyn Demchak caught Shana Gugliandolo trying to advance to third after the throw from shortstop Kate Stuhldreher retired the batter at first.

In the bottom of the fifth, Leeanna Zagrodnik was bunted over to third after her leadoff double. Northampton pitcher Kaira Zamadics induced a pop out to short and fly to center to get out of the jam.

In the sixth, Jenna Piatkewicz was doubled off second on a liner snagged by K-Kids’ third baseman Kendyll Strohl.

In the final frame, Katelyn Gontkosky started things off with a double to deep right. Courtesy runner Sydney Stewart was forced to stay at second on a short fly out to center. Stewart advanced to third on a ground out to the right ride of the infield. Zamadics knocked down a grounder up the middle, pounced on it, and flipped to Demchak to secure the final out.

For the game, Zaun allowed 3 hits, struck out 15, and walked none. Zamadics gave up 5 hits and had 4 strikeouts and one walk in her shutout.

Northampton advanced to the District 11 Class 6A final on Thursday at Pates Park to play Whitehall. The Zephyrs were 9-4 winners over Freedom in the other semifinal. Northampton beat Whitehall 3-2 in 8 innings in the EPC semifinal two weeks ago.

Parkland will miss the state playoffs for the first time since 2013. Nevertheless, Trojans’ head coach Barry Search had good things to say about his team.

“They’ve been marvelous,” he said. “It’s been a great ride. They’re fantastic players. The energy that they bring to everything they do has been great. Came up a little short today, but that’s the way sports are.”

PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERB Parkland's Jenna Piatkewicz slides into second base during the Trojans' district quarterfinal win over Emmaus.