Softball breezes past Hurricanes
The Parkland softball team can beat teams in many ways. In the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference semifinal, the Trojans took a 1-0 win over Easton in a pitcher’s duel. When it came time to play for their fifth straight conference championship, though, they put their bats to work and made quick work of Liberty in an 11-0 win.
“I was just so happy for them because we’ve been struggling with the bats here of late,” said Parkland head coach Barry Search. “They just came out and hit the ball and did a fantastic job.”
In piling up 11 runs Parkland used the longball to do much of the damage. Mackenzie Wolfe had the biggest of nights hitting two home runs to drive in three runs for the Lady Trojans. Wolfe’s first home run went to left-center field and then in the third she hit a long flyball to center that Mikayla Ruppert attempted to make a play on only to wind up tumbling over the temporary fencing in center field with the ball landing nearby for a solo home run.
That was the same inning that saw Steph Herpel blast a three-run shot to left-center field that seemingly clinched the game for Parkland (18-3) by stretching its lead to 11-0 with Liberty having just one more shot to cut into the lead or lose by the 10-run rule.
“I was just thinking that we really needed to score first,” said Wolfe about her first-inning home run. “I was thinking maybe I should bunt to move her [baserunner Chelsea Morgan] over and let someone else get her in. Then I was thinking just a base-hit or something because I just knew we had to score first to get on top of them.
“The second one felt like it had a chance to go out. She made a great effort on it and I give her props for coming so close to making that play.”
Not surprisingly, Wolfe was intentionally walked in her third at-bat and scored for the third time in the game on Herpel’s home run. Megan Fenstermaker was on base and scored all three times she came to the plate. She also drove home a run with a fourth inning single.
Herpel, a senior, finished the night with two hits and drove in three runs for Parkland. The seniors on the team captured a conference championship in each of their four seasons.
“It’s amazing that I could be a part of this,” said Herpel. “We’ve worked really hard and once we all started hitting the ball we knew it was going to come together for us.”
After Wolfe’s first-inning blast, Fenstermaker drew a walk and used a wild pitch and a groundball out to move to third where she could score on a flyball off the bat of Ashley Gallina. The senior catcher would double to drive in two runs in the third inning rally by Parkland. Kiara Bryant followed Gallina’s double with an RBI single, scoring Morgan McGuire, who came on as a courtesy runner for Gallina.
Kelly Dulaney threw her eighth shutout of the season and has allowed just three runs in the last seven games for Parkland. Against Easton she allowed just three hits and struck out six batters. She gave up two hits to Liberty and relied on her defense to make plays behind her, which it did.
“Kelly has been amazing this season,” said Wolfe. “We all knew she would be really good and we’ve had confidence in her the whole way.”
The championship clinched Parkland’s status as the top seed in the District 11 playoffs which began this week. The Lady Trojans enjoyed a first-round bye and will host ninth-seeded Emmaus in the quarterfinals. Parkland has beaten Emmaus in each of their two regular season games. The semifinal was played after Press deadline. See next week’s issue for more coverage of the softball postseason.