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Girls escape with win in quarterfinals

The Northampton softball team could not have expected much of a challenge from Easton in their district quarterfinal matchup. After all, the K-Kids had soundly trounced the Rovers by a combined 19-3 in their two regular season meetings. Easton showed its fight by battling Northampton until their final out, but the Kids still prevailed 9-5.

Through four innings it appeared that the game would be another waltz in the park. Pitcher Kaira Zamadics was throwing a no-hitter, surrendering only a first inning walk. Devyn Demchak had blasted a second inning solo homer over the right field fence to draw first blood.

Kate Stuhldeher and Jessie Hunt collected third inning RBIs to push the Kids’ advantage to three runs.

The Northampton County MVP drove home two more runs in the fourth with a single including Taylor Kranzley racing all the way around from first base to score.

In the fifth inning, Easton’s first hit was summarily erased by a textbook Strohl to Kranzley to Demchak around the horn double play. However, the next Easton batter ruined a potential shutout by stroking a home run down the left field line. After Northampton was retired in order, the score through five innings stood at K-Kids 5, Rovers 1.

Easton’s first two hitters in the sixth both got hits, adding another run to the ledger. After a walk and a strikeout, the Rover’s cleanup batter smacked a three-run homer to tie the game at 5. Another walk had the home fans muttering nervously, but a fortuitous line drive double play ended the top of the sixth with no further damage.

Strohl led off the bottom of the sixth with single. It was to be Northampton’s only hit of the inning, yet a series of errors, walks (including Demchak’s third intentional free pass of the game), a hit-by-pitch, and two passed balls resulted in four K-Kids’ runs that seemingly put the game out of reach.

Easton did manage to load the bases with two out in the seventh and their number three hitter at the plate. She was retired on a routine grounder to second and Northampton was on to the semifinals.