Softball team earns come-back victory
Morgan Cleary made some mistakes with her glove early on in Northwestern's battle with Salisbury last Friday afternoon at Salisbury Middle School. Those miscues were part of the reason the Lady Tigers faced a two-run deficit.
The senior made up for it with her bat in the late innings as she drove in two runs and crossed the plate once to help Northwestern (3-5 overall, 3-4 Colonial League) score four runs in the final two innings and notch a 4-2 softball victory over the Lady Falcons.
"I knew I had to do it for the team," said Cleary, who went 1-for-3 in the game. "It was a team effort. Having the girls have my back all the time, with their support, is great. No matter what errors I made, or what downs we had, we pulled through and we won."
Both squads were battling early on in this quick contest as the skies were threatening and the wind seemed to pick up with each passing inning.
The starting pitchers Kaitlyn Bowers (Northwestern) and Brooke Rogers (Salisbury) breezed through the first two frames as neither team got its first base runner until the third inning.
The pitchers still commanded until the bottom of the fourth when Salisbury (4-4, 4-3) cashed in. Thalya Creswell led off the inning with a double and one batter later scored on an error by Cleary in center field.
The next batter, Rachel Costantini, stroked a single to center that scored one more run while Costantini traveled all the way to third on another misplayed ball by Cleary.
Bowers got the Lady Tigers out of the inning as the last two batters grounded out to second and flied out to left field, which ended the sophomore's day in the circle as she went four innings, gave up three hits and allowed one earned run on 35 pitches.
Head coach Jen Horner liked what Bowers did, she just wanted to change it up.
"Putting [Bowers and Emily Bennett] together throws two different pitchers at the other team," said Horner. "One is a lefty and one is a righty. It is a good changeup that is tough for the opposition to stop."
The Lady Tigers went down in order in the fifth as did Salisbury, before lead-off hitter Brooke Wehr (2-4, two singles), kick-started a rally that brought life to Northwestern's offense.
Wehr led off the sixth with a single and scored her team's first run as Cleary's single drove her in. Later that inning, after Cleary scored, Claire O'Dea crossed home plate on Alyssa Rodda's RBI single. Rodda had just reentered the game for Emily Bennett with a 0-2 count already against her.
"I think they showed a lot of confidence and determination today," Horner said of her team's offense. "They have gone through a lot of close match-ups, and ones that have gone to extra innings. They really earned this win today as they were due for something good to happen to them."
Northwestern took its 3-2 lead into the bottom of the sixth when Emily Bennett didn't allow the Lady Falcons to get a rally going.
In the top of the seventh, the Lady Tigers were searching for an insurance run. Senior Erynn Day led off with a single and scored from third on a well-executed sacrifice bunt by Cleary to give them a two-run cushion heading to the bottom of the seventh, where the Lady Falcons went down without a fight.
Northwestern visits Lehighton on Monday and hosts Notre Dame Green Pond on Tuesday next week.