Rain alters girls run in EPC playoffs
A quirk in the seeding process saw the Northampton softball team in the third spot for the EPC tournament, below an Emmaus team they had defeated twice in the regular season.
This led to a first-round matchup with Nazareth, a team that had defeated the Kids three days earlier.
The Blue Eagles drew first blood when Serena Smith led off the game with an infield single and came around to score on a fielder’s choice.
Hannah Boggs tied the game with a home run to lead off the bottom of the second for the Kids. Maddie Biechy followed with a double and later scored on a wild pitch to give Northampton the lead.
Nazareth tied the game in the top of the third on a sacrifice fly. Nikki Secara’s throw beat the runner for what would have been the third out, but the ball came loose on the play at the plate.
The Kids responded with four runs of their own in the bottom of the third. Boggs knocked in Jordan Geroulo with a sacrifice fly. Emily Stuhldreher hit a two-run shot and Katelyn Stuhldreher followed her sister with a round-tripper of her own.
Nazareth added a solo homer in the fifth to round out the scoring as Northampton advanced to the EPC semifinals by a 6-3 score.
Kaira Zamadics kept the Blue Eagles off balance all game with her changeup en route to a complete game five-hitter. She struck out seven and walked three.
Northampton’s semifinal against Emmaus was postponed twice, resulting in a Wednesday start that comes after Press deadlines.
The EPC championship game is Thursday at 5 p.m. at Patriot’s Park in Allentown. Freedom and top seed Parkland were on the opposite side of the bracket. The Trojans entered the tournament looking to capture their fifth-straight EPC title.
ALL-STARS ... No school had more first-team EPC All-Stars this year than Northampton’s three. Hannah Boggs and Maddie Biechy improved on their second-team recognition from last year, while Emily Stuhldreher was selected for the first time in her career. Jordan Geroulo was named to the second team.
Boggs is leading the Kids in HRs and RBIs with eight and 32 in addition to carrying a .431 batting average. Stuhldreher leads the team with a .440 average and has two HRs and 16 RBIs. Biechy’s hitting stats are .403/3/19 and Geroulo’s are .384/3/23.
PLAYOFFS ... The District XI playoffs will start for Northampton on Tuesday when they host a quarterfinal game. The EPC champion gets the top seed for districts, so the Kids’ placement will not be known until Thursday evening. Since they currently hold the second spot in the power rankings, it will be no worse than third.