The Northwestern Lehigh baseball season consisted basically of two long winning streaks. The first one went seven games after a season-opening loss to Saucon Valley. Then, after a 7-2 loss to Blue Mountain, the Tigers rattled off 11 straight regular season wins. They entered the postseason at 18-2.
Throughout the season, Northwestern and North Schuylkill, who also finished at 18-2, seemed to be on a collision course that would end in districts. North Schuylkill was the defending champion in the 3A classification, but was moved up to 4A for the 2019 season.
Three student-athletes from Northwestern Lehigh will continue their academic and athletic careers at Division 1 schools next season. The three were among a group of 21 student-athletes who were saluted recently in the high school gym, signing letters of intent to attend various colleges and universities.
Madeline Consuelos will run track at the University of Michigan, while Elena Smargiassi will attend the University of Connecticut and will play field hockey and Maggie Motolese will continue her soccer career at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York.
From the first game of the season, the Northwestern softball team had plenty of offense.
In their season-opener, the Tigers downed Saucon Valley 20-4 and scored double-digits in runs in five of their first seven games of the season. The downside was that somehow, they opened the season with a mediocre 3-2 start.
After dropping a nonconference game to Tamaqua, the Tigers went on a streak that saw them win nine straight games before a loss to Southern Lehigh slowed them temporarily.
Northwestern Lehigh recently celebrated 21 student-athletes who have signed letters of intent to attend colleges all across the country. The schools are as far away as Michigan and as close as Schnecksville and as diverse as Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The most recent group of student-athletes featured athletes from nine different sports, including bowling, which technically isn’t a high school sport offered at Northwestern.
All season long, North Schuylkill and Northwestern Lehigh were the best teams in Class 4A baseball in District 11. The two teams were on a collision course and their coaches even talked throughout the season about playing in the postseason, which they weren’t able to do in previous seasons when the Spartans were in Class 3A.
The ultimate postseason for both coaches was to have the District 11 title come down to a game between two defending district champions. They got their wish.
In a game where the momentum and the lead seesawed from one team to another, Northwestern Lehigh was glad to have the last at-bats.
Freshman Brynn Balliet gave her team the lead back at just the right time with a walk-off double as Northwestern downed Tamaqua 8-7 in eight innings to earn a trip to the District 11 Class 4A softball final.
The Northwestern Lehigh baseball team simply don’t give up.
In the District 11 Class 4A semifinal game against Wilson, Northwestern fell behind by five runs, cut the lead to three and then fell behind by five runs again. A big five-run inning completely closed the gap and some heads-up base running in the bottom of the seventh led Northwestern to a 9-8 win over the Warriors and a trip to the district final.
“That wasn’t the way we drew it up,” said coach Duran Porrino after his team’s win in the semifinal game at Weiland Park on the campus of De Sales University.
The Lady Tiger softball team sat through rainy weather waiting to see who it would play in the Colonial League semifinals. Palmerton and Wilson finally got the chance to play, with the Blue Bombers coming out on top to advance to the semis and a meeting with Northwestern Lehigh.
As the top seed in the tournament, Northwestern was a favorite. The teams split their two regular season meetings with the Tigers winning the last matchup after dropping a 6-1 game early in the season.
A number of players from Northwestern Lehigh made the trip to Lehigh Carbon Community College this past Saturday to size up the competition and watch the two wild card games.
They saw Notre Dame down Palmerton to advance to play Wilson and watched as Southern Lehigh beat Saucon Valley 11-4, setting up a semifinal game between the Spartans and Tigers.
With rains wiping out games early in the week, the Tigers have had a longer layoff than expected. That can make a difference sometimes when having to play a team that has played recently.
As the top-seeded softball team in the Colonial League playoffs, the Lady Tigers had to sit back and wait this past weekend while four other teams battled in the wild card round of the Colonial League playoffs. Little did they know that their layoff would be as long as it has, with rain wiping out games early this week.
The result is that Northwestern Lehigh hasn’t played since it beat Catasauqua last Wednesday on Senior Day.