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Hornet softball season ends in district semifinal

The Emmaus softball season ended with a loss to Northampton in the District 11 semifinals with the Hornets falling 3-1. The loss allowed Northampton – the eventual district champions – to play in the finals and then go on to the PIAA tournament where the Kids were eliminated in the opening round.

Both teams relied on pitching and defense early in the district semifinal game. The Hornets’ Danika Barthol did not allow a hit until the bottom of the third inning after getting over some early jitters that led to two first-inning walks. For Northampton, Kaira Zamadics found herself facing a bases-loaded situation in the third but recorded the final out of the inning with a strikeout after she had given up two walks and Shayla Morgan reached on an infield single.

The Hornets again loaded the bags in the fifth after their first two hitters of the inning were retired on strikeouts. Morgan picked up her second single of the game and stole second ahead of walks to Sami Lilly and Lindsey Moreau. Again though, Zamadics toughened and got the final out of the inning.

“We had some opportunities in the game but just couldn’t capitalize on them,” said coach Rich Giering. “Our effort was there, and the girls came in prepared and ready to play, so it wasn’t that. We were up against a good pitcher who gets even tougher when she is in a tough situation, and I believe it was that more than anything.”

Northampton broke through with a run in the fourth when Arianna Patterson looked to move runners over from first and second and wound up with an infield single on a perfectly placed bunt, loading the bases for the Kids. Hannah Makovsky then lifted a fly ball to right and Sam Barber, who had entered the game as a courtesy runner, came home from third to make it 1-0.

In the fifth, a defensive miscue aided Northampton’s offense. Alexa Chromey led off with a base hit and reached second on a passed ball before Taylor Kranzley doubled to right center field to drive in a run. A two-base error on a ball hit by Devon Demchak then allowed Kranzley to score and make it a 3-0 game before Barthol set down the next three batters to end the inning.

After Emmaus loaded the bases in the fifth, Zamadics put down the Lady Hornets in order in the sixth. Just when Northampton may have thought it had the game sewn up, Emmaus senior Brooke Huczko led off the seventh with a groundball to right and scored when Daria Krout doubled to right field but was caught off the bag when center fielder Ashley Patterson fired the ball to second to catch Krout rounding the bag. From there, Zamadics struck out the next two batters to give Northampton the win.

“We had talked about getting into this situation (winning a championship), so we will have to hope that it takes us forward,” said Giering after the loss. “We have a lot of juniors and some good sophomores and freshmen here, so the future looks good. I expect us to be back here next year, and we will just keep banging away and hopefully we will be the victors next year.”

Barthol finished the game with eight strikeouts to give her 93 strikeouts in 59 innings of work this season. She finished with a 7-2 record and a 2.14 ERA for the Hornets in her junior season. Lilly, one of the graduating seniors on the team, hit .378 for Emmaus and was on base three times in the game against Northampton.

“We were definitely fighters,” said Lilly of this year’s team. “We have all been together forever and although it might have ended short of where we wanted it to go, we definitely worked hard all season and were there for each other.”

PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Emmaus pitcher Danika Barthol limited Northampton to three runs in the district semifinals, but the Kids pulled out a 3-1 win to advance to the title game, which they won.