PHS softball team manufactures game-winning run
Throughout the season, Parkland’s seniors have talked about the underclassmen and how they’ve been able to contribute to the team’s success during its 24-0 season. Last week, one of the young players came through with a big hit to give the seniors four straight conference championships with a 1-0 win over Emmaus in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Championship at Patriots Park in Allentown.
With a runner on second and one out, Megan Fenstermaker poked a groundball through the right side of the infield to score Shauna Frank with the game’s only run. From there, it was just a matter of senior pitcher Aubree Fritzinger, who shared the league’s Player of the Year Award with Liberty outfielder Reyna DeJesus, holding down the Emmaus offense.
Frank, who was also named an EPC All-Star, had led off the inning with a base-hit. Renee Snyder pinch-hit and laid down a sacrifice bunt to put pinch runner Morgan Maguire, who was running for Frank, in scoring position. Fenstermaker then delivered what would prove to be the game-winning hit and almost scored a run herself when Parkland loaded the bases on a hit batter and a walk later in the inning.
“She’s had some very key hits for us and she’s been instrumental in a lot of our success, for sure,” said Parkland head coach Barry Search.
For Fenstermaker, she believes it was just a matter of being in the right place at the right time, thanks to her teammates.
“It was crazy, because Renee got the bunt down to get the runner to second, so it was all of the little things that added up to get the run in,” said Fenstermaker. “It’s a team sport, so it’s everything that adds up together.
“It’s awesome to be able to get this experience at this age. I still have two years left, and for all of the other underclassmen, it’s great to get this experience and be excited for everything in the future.”
Parkland was keeping the pressure on Emmaus and hit some balls hard, but the Emmaus defense was up to the task to make good defensive plays, and pitcher Hannah Palinkas was doing her job of retiring hitters. While the frustration level would have gotten pretty high for a lot of teams, Parkland just kept doing what its been taught to do.
“Emmaus is a tough team and they did a really good job,” said Fenstermaker. “We just prepare really well for anything that happens and overall, we just try to string things together and end up on top.”
Fritzinger was pretty well in command throughout the game, and didn’t allow a runner in scoring position until the sixth inning when a walk and a sacrifice bunt started Emmaus’ inning just like Parkland had done earlier. Fritzinger then got two groundballs right back to the mound and made both plays to end the threat. Emmaus threatened again in the top of the seventh when two base-hits put runners on first and second with one out, but Fritzinger again squashed the threat.
In addition to winning their fourth straight conference title, the Trojans gave themselves the top seed in the District 11 playoffs as they search for their fourth straight district championship and a trip back to states.
The Lady Trojans last won a state championship in 2015.
“It never gets old,” admitted Search. “It’s one of those things where you see a new crop of kids, and you want them to succeed. It’s just neat to get to see them do that.”