LV Carpenter Cup softball team goes 4-2
Lehigh Valley’s Carpenter Cup softball team wrapped up its competition last week, finishing with a record of 4-2 and taking fourth place after playing six games at FDR Park in Philadelphia.
“The way they played and conducted themselves touched a lot of people there,” said Lehigh Valley head coach Blake Morgan. “That inning where everything went wrong, a lot of teams would have folded up their tents, but we hit hard and never gave up.”
That inning happened to be the sixth inning of the game in which Delaware County North scored eight runs, and Lehigh Valley would get its second loss in the double-elimination tournament, which was last Thursday.
“We just wanted to get the inning over,” said Morgan. “We just needed to get one out. [Pitcher] Hannah Palinkas was fighting out there, but we couldn’t make the final out for her.”
Lehigh Valley battled back in the seventh inning, scoring two runs, but still two runs shy of a victory. Palinkas hit a double but was left on base.
“They played so hard the right way,” said Morgan. “It was the closeness of the team, the way they supported each other, and the way they conducted themselves when things went well and didn’t go well.”
The tournament began on June 19 when Lehigh Valley defeated Jersey Shore 2-0 before losing to Berks County/Lancaster-Lebanon 7-2.
Parkland’s Kelly Dulaney, Bethlehem Catholic’s Alexa Panuccio, and Emmaus’s Palinkas shared pitching duties in the game against Jersey Shore, pitching a perfect game among them.
Initially, it looked like Lehigh Valley’s momentum would carry through to its second game when Becahi’s Jess Indelicato led off with a triple, Whitehall’s Rachel Arner hit a single, and Lehigh Valley took a 2-0 lead against Berks County/LL.
Berks, the defending Carpenter Cup champion, tied the game in the second inning, took a one-run lead in the third inning, and scored four more runs in the sixth inning.
“The other team was really hitting their spots, and there wasn’t really anything we could do,” said Arner. “Our coaches told us to keep our confidence up, stay ready, and hit the ball.”
The following day, Coach Morgan arranged to have batting practice for the Lehigh Valley team.
“The biggest thing down there was communication, between first and second base, between shortstop and third, between players and coaches,” said Morgan. “Things like be on time and shorten up and think opposite field, so it was more important to communicate what we mean when we say those things and have adjustments at the plate.”
Lehigh Valley’s third game was a 2-1 victory over Philadelphia Catholic League, and its fourth was a 15-0 victory over Suburban One/Bicentennial Athletic.
Parkland’s Chelsea Morgan had an RBI single and an RBI triple in the latter game.
“It was just fun to win,” she said. “We all communicated about their pitcher, and that was able to help me, personally.”
Lehigh Valley’s fifth game began with a 4-0 lead over Delaware County West but was postponed until the following day because of rain.
“We tried not to focus on the 4-0 lead, but it was nice to have that under our belts and not have that pressure,” said Chelsea Morgan.
Lehigh Valley won that game 14-0.
Berks County/LL was the eventual Carpenter Cup softball champion.
“Their offense was very strong, and their coaches were really nice, and they were good sports,” said Chelsea Morgan. “It would have been fun to play them again, and in a sense they were close to us because some of our girls knew some of their girls.
“The majority of our team was younger girls and it was a more diverse group, so we had to learn how to play together, more as friends and more than just a team playing softball, and play for the person next to us.”
The Carpenter Cup softball tournament was also a showcase for college coaches.
“Yes, it’s college connections, but sometimes they have to just go play, and that’s what they did,” Blake Morgan said. “If I could sum it up, they were awesome, and the coaches [Ed Stinner, Ricky Sechler, Kyle Stinner, and Jim Haney] all had a big part in our success. It was awesome.”