One critical inning lifts Salisbury to softball win
The 2018 softball season so far for the Northwestern Tigers has seen its ups and downs. The down has mostly been just one inning that tends to get away from them.
It happened again last Thursday.
With a tied game in the sixth inning, the Falcons scored five runs in the top-half of the inning, and then held on to take down the Tigers 8-3 in a Colonial League softball game at Northwestern High School.
“It just comes down to execution,” Zimmerman said. “It looks like it’s been kind of our MO this year. It’s that one bad inning that gets us. If we can eliminate that one inning, we’re going to be just fine.
“Give Salisbury a lot of credit. They hit the ball hard and they made the plays that they had to, to get the job done. It just wasn’t in the cards for us today.”
It proved to be an important victory for the Falcons (7-1 overall, 5-1 CL), who gave themselves some cushion ahead of the Tigers (5-5, 5-3), who were sitting just behind them in the Colonial League West Division standings.
After two scoreless innings to start the game, Salisbury tallied two runs in the third and one in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead. It would hold onto that advantage until Northwestern came to bat in the bottom of the fifth, when the lineup came alive. After coming up empty in the first four innings, Northwestern scored three runs on three hits, including a three-run home run.
Natalie Smith led off with a single, followed by a double from Gina Marazzo. Two batters later, in the leadoff position of the lineup, Anna Akelaitis ripped a ball that went over the center field wall to tie the game 3-3.
But in the next half-inning, Salisbury answered.
With the scored knotted 3-3 in the top of the sixth inning, the Falcons lineup answered to the tune of five runs on three hits. Six batters reached base, including Lil Crouthamel, who had ripped an RBI double, and Hannah Lipken, who recorded a two-run single. Peyton Stauffer also added a base-hit, and Julia Graver tallied an RBI in the inning. Salisbury went ahead 6-3.
“We know that it’s going to be tough to get a win here,” said Crouthamel a senior who has committed to play at Penn State next year. “They always have a great team over there, and they really challenged us today and made us work for everything. This was a big win for us.”
Falcons sophomore starting pitcher Emily Silberman settled down and allowed just one hit in the final two frames to record the win.
There is a good chance they will see each other again in the postseason.
“I’m sure we will see them again,” Zimmerman said. “Hopefully we can build off this and remember that sour taste in our mouth for the next time we see them. Nobody likes to lose, but we left some plays out there on the field. You can’t give a quality team like Salisbury outs, because they take advantage of it, and that’s the way it goes. Hopefully we can right the ship here and get better as the season progresses.”