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PHS softball hands Liberty first loss

In what could be a preview of both East Penn Conference and District 11 playoff action, Parkland and Liberty softball teams met Monday for the first time this season.

Liberty came into the game undefeated and had rolled through its first five games with a 64-17 margin of victory. The two teams battled until Parkland was able to put up four runs in the sixth inning, taking a 5-1 win over the Lady Hurricanes.

Liberty starter Paige Zigmund and Parkland’s Kelly Dulaney were both impressive on the mound. Liberty (6-1 overall, 5-1 EPC) was also uncharacteristically erratic defensively, committing four errors that led to three unearned runs in the game.

Dulaney, who struck out nine and walked two, opened the game by retiring the first nine batters before Alanysse Solomon doubled to open the fourth inning. Solomon hit a long fly ball to left and didn’t stop while rounding the bases, looking to stretch the hit into a triple. The throw from left fielder Caroline Rivera beat her to third and Megan Fenstermaker applied the tag.

Dulaney then rebounded to strikeout the next two batters.

Meanwhile, Parkland (8-1, 5-1) was able to get runners on base against Zigmund, but had trouble coming up with a big hit to put the game away early on.

The Lady Trojans stranded 12 runners on base in the game, but broke through for a run in the fourth when Rivera reached on an error and Renee Snyder singled to right with another error on the play, allowing Rivera to score from first base to make it 1-0.

“I don’t know what was going on early in the game,” said Snyder, who scored a run and drove in two, reaching base in three of her four trips to the plate. “It just took a little while for our bats to get going.

“I knew we left too many runners on base and I knew I had to take advantage of that situation.”

The Lady Trojans added insurance with four sixth-inning runs. A leadoff walk to pinch-hitter Olivia Ondrejca was followed by a perfectly placed bunt by Rivera to put runners on first and second. Snyder then hit a ball through the middle that deflected off of Zigmund’s glove and traveled into center field for a base-hit, bringing Ondrejca home to make it 2-0.

Another well-placed bunt by Nicole Klass loaded the bases and Dulaney hit a sacrifice fly to left, making it 3-0 in favor of Parkland. Kylie Hlay then lifted a fly ball to right that was misplayed for an error, again loading the bases with just one out. Zigmund then hit Megan Fenstermaker with a pitch to force home a run and one out later, walked pinch-hitter Ali Superka to push Parkland’s lead to 5-0.

“We’re always positive in the dugout,” Snyder said. “Every game there’s someone else stepping up and we play as a team. Having Kelly on the mound and our defense playing strong is all we can ask when our bats are struggling a little.”

If the Trojans thought Liberty was going to go down easily in the seventh, they were mistaken. With one out, Kat Borda singled to left and an error allowed her to go to second.

Tori Panik then worked a walk before Alexa Burger singled to center to make it 5-1 leaving runners on first and third with two outs. Dulaney regrouped and got a ground ball to end the game.

“Our schedule has been loaded up towards the front, so just coming in and getting every win that we can and playing as a team is important,” said Snyder.

Parkland plays at Pocono Mountain West (1-6, 1-4) Thursday before hosting East Stroudsburg South (2-4, 2-3) and Freedom (5-1, 4-1) next week.

PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBParkland's Riley Mang runs the bases during a recent Trojan softball game. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_