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Runs in 2019, 2021 similar for Whitehall girls softball team

The Whitehall softball team’s road to the state tournament resembled much of what transpired the last time the team earned a chance to capture the ultimate prize.

Back in 2019 the Zephyrs made both the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playoffs and the District XI tournament. That year they were felled by Parkland in both those tournaments, losing to the Trojans in the EPC quarterfinals, and then later in the D-11 6A championship game.

This year it was Northampton who upended them in the EPC tourney, knocking them out in the semifinals. The Kids got the edge again in the district title game at Pates Park last Saturday, winning by a run, 5-4.

Both years the Zephyrs responded after suffering tough losses in the EPC tournament to make it to the district championship where they earned a berth to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association 6A Softball Championships. The win sent them to Boyertown to play District I champs Spring-Ford High School on Monday. They lost that game 10-0, ending their season.

Head coach Blake Morgan said that in 2019 they were a very young team that probably exceeded their expectations. This year, he said that the girls would say that they fell short of their expectations.

While they were able to bounce back after those early postseason losses, Morgan said that they don’t dwell on what happened in the past, they just prepare for the next game.

“You get what you can get out of it, and move forward,” said Morgan.

Morgan said that every game is different and that anything can happen in the sport. He said that they key to winning any game, especially a high-stakes game, is playing a clean game. Then everything else will take care of itself.

“If we play a clean game, we’ll be all right,” he said.

That didn’t happen in the district championship game, and they wound up as the runners-up to a talented Northampton squad.

They did play a much sharper game in the semifinals of the district tourney, defeating top-seeded Freedom 9-4 to earn a spot in the championship game. Kate Yadush delivered a bases-loaded double to help send them into the gold medal game.

However, in the district title game, they showed that same spirit that enabled them to make it to the championship game after their EPC setback.

They got out to an early lead when Abbey Reese delivered a two-out single, scoring Abby Vivian who had walked to start the fourth inning.

The Kids came back in the bottom of the frame to go up by a run after a two-out single by Lily Stuhldreher, giving the Kids a lead they would cling to for the next three innings.

They added a run in the bottom of the fifth on a Katelyn Stuhldreher single to put the Kids up 3-1. They would tack on another in to take a 4-1 lead heading into the top of the seventh.

Northampton starting pitcher Kaira Zamadics had only allowed two hits up to that point, but the Zephyrs mounted a rally in the top of the seventh. Two Zephyrs reached base, setting the stage for Yadush’s RBI single to make it 4-2.

After a Northampton pitching change, Jess Spanitz reached base after getting hit by a pitch, and Emma Bonshak smacked a single to draw the Zephyrs within a run, 4-3.

Zamadics returned to the circle, and with Meghan Hutter at the plate, the senior got the game-tying RBI with a fielder’s choice.

Northampton didn’t get unnerved after surrounding the lead in the seventh. They scored the winning run when Rilee Ehrlacher sent a chopper to short that eventually led to the game winner.

The Zephyrs finished the season 21-5, another strong year for the program. It’s now time to move forward again.

Press photo by Linda Rothrock Jess Spanitz reaches second base during the D-11 finals.
Mackenzie Laub races to first base during the Zephs loss to Northampton in the District 11 finals.