Softball faces strong teams early in season
Parkland softball coach Barry Search has a young, inexperienced team that he knows is going to take some time to pull everything together. If you talk to him about his team, the term “work in progress” is going to come up often. Search was faced with what every coach of a young team dreads: a tough early schedule. In this case, Bethlehem Catholic, Emmaus, Northampton and Liberty comprised much of the early schedule for the Lady Trojans.
The schedule gave Parkland a week between its season opener and game number two against Stroudsburg, but weather has prevented the team from working outside for most of that time.
In the opener against Beca, Kelly Dulaney started in the circle for Parkland and deserved a better fate than the 2-0 loss that she suffered at the hands of the Golden Hawks. Dulaney allowed five hits, two of which were plays that probably should have been made by players behind her.
“Kelly did a great job and she deserved better,” said Search. “She deserved a fate better than she had.”
Both of the defensive miscues came on fly balls that could have been turned into outs, but instead were turned into doubles. Shakiness on defense isn’t an issue that normally plagues Parkland and Search believes it will get better in time.
“It’s a work in progress and we’re trying to sort this out and figure where we’re going to be,” he said. “These first two weeks are tough because we play all of the tough teams in the first couple of weeks, so it’s a tough way to start.”
This year’s roster has seven seniors, but a few of them aren’t holdovers from last year’s starting lineup and will need some time to adjust. The same is true of the 10 juniors that form the largest class of the roster.
“We’re still looking at players and evaluating how everybody is going to fit in, because it’s a new year and a new group of kids,” said Search, whose evaluation has been hampered by not being able to have his team on a field for much of the spring.
Against the Hawks, Parkland also ran into a strong pitcher in Tatum Kresley, who struck out five and limited the Lady Trojans to just one hit, a single from Ashley Gallina in the fourth inning. Gallina’s hit followed a two-out walk to Megan Fenstermaker and put runners on first and second, but Kresley buckled down and got a fielder’s choice ground ball to work out of the jam.
Parkland’s Mackenzie Wolfe drew a two-out walk in the seventh, but again, Kresley got a ground ball to end the game.
For all of the things stacked against his team, Search is keeping a positive attitude and believes his team will be much better by the end of the season than it is right now thanks to players gaining experience through playing time.
“At least we don’t have to worry about running the table this year,” joked Search after the loss to Beca. “It’s a new year and a new group of kids. It’s a work in progress this year.”