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SL tops Falcons in softball season finale

In its final Colonial League game of the season, the Lady Falcon softball team was looking for its first league victory of the season, hoping to beat Southern Lehigh. Unfortunately, the Lady Spartans were able to shut down those hopes with a strong pitching performance, downing Salisbury 14-0.

Southern Lehigh starter Betty Gangewere gave up just one hit, a fifth-inning double to Zaira Stokes that led off the inning. From there, Gangewere was able to return to form and set down the next three batters to end the game.

“Our girls have played with a lot of heart this season and they keep showing up for games and for practices and that’s important,” said Salisbury head coach Jane Brennan. “They keep working and we are seeing progress in how they play and what they can do. The fact that they keep showing up and playing with heart is all you can ask for as a coach and they are doing that.”

The Spartans had jumped out to an early 7-0 lead after two innings and used a seven-run fourth inning to stretch the lead to 14-0. Of the 14 runs, eight were unearned against starter Beth Carney, who pitched all five innings for the Falcons and was hurt by six errors. Carney did strand five base runners during the game.

“It’s been difficult mentally,” said center fielder Riley Knecht of the Salisbury softball season. “It’s really about having the mental strength to push through and stay focused during the game, but we have done a pretty good job of that even though we are a very young team.”

The team does not have any seniors on the roster and many of the players are going on to play summer ball or are going on to play for tournament teams, which Brennan believes will help to continue the development they showed during the season.

Knecht will play tournament ball with the Lehigh Valley Patriot Flames and work to improve on her play following the high school season.

“We have all improved a lot from where we were at the beginning of the season and in the preseason,” said Knecht. “Our team is young, and we have girls who have taken a break from the game for a few years or haven’t picked up a ball and a bat in a while, so a lot of us are relearning the game and we will all get better for next season.”

Knecht’s mother, Melissa, who serves as an assistant coach on the team, believes that the team has a bright future, and it is just a matter of gaining repetitions and continuing to work on how they play the game.

“It’s mainly consistency. We can’t get that because we play back-to-back games and don’t really get to work on things in practice,” said Melissa Knecht. “They all show up and they have all made progress and that is a big thing, and you have to credit them for that. They want to get better and that’s the key.”

PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Salisbury junior Riley Knecht and her teammates are looking forward to returning next season with a more experienced roster.
PRESS PHOTO BY LINDA ROTHROCK Salisbury's Beth Carney is expected to return next season for her fourth season as the Falcon softball team's top pitcher. She's also one of the team's best hitters.