Lady Trojans reflect on a solid diamond season

Coming into this spring, North Pocono Head Coach Mike LaFave was unsure of how both his team and how their season would turn out.

“I really didn’t know what to expect this year,” LaFave said. “We lost a lot of seniors at the end of last year, but we had a big class of seniors this season as well as some veteran underclassmen and a lot of new girls too.

“We didn’t know how they’d all mesh but it really came together in the end.”

Ebb & Flow

The season started out with a cornucopia of results.

A 3-1 loss to Delaware Valley was followed by a 14-0 win over Honesdale.

Following that, North Pocono suffered a 20-4 setback at the hands of Abington. However, the local lasses then bounced back with a 10-2 decision over Scranton.

The ups and downs persisted as the season rolled on. The Lady Trojans surrendered 8-7 to Valley View after a tough fight, but then squeezed out a 4-3 win over Paupack.

The very next day, they battled the Buckhorns again, but this time fell by an 8-3 margin.

This pair of games with Paupack was followed up by two wins in a row versus Western Wayne.

During their first outing against the Lady’Cats, the Trojan lasses mounted a 9-5 win. Just a few days later, they capitalized on that showing and posted a 17-2 victory against the girls from Varden.

As the players continued to gel, things continued to improve. They avenged their early loss to DV by posting a 10-3 win over the Warriors and then duked it out with Scranton Prep.

The batters’ bonanza that day yielded a crucial win for the Lady Trojans, who prevailed in this shootout by a margin of 15-11.

North Pocono suffered a small setback in their bout with West Scranton. The Lady Invaders bested the Trojans gals by posting a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh to pull ahead and seize the 10-9 win.

They wrapped up the regular season with a 7-3 victory over Honesdale.

The win gave them an 8-5 record in Lackawanna League play. More importantly, though, when counting exhibition games, it boosted their overall average to .500.

This was the magic number that would qualify them for the District 2-11 subregional playoffs.

Playoff Run

The Lady Trojans pulled ahead of Pottsville 1-0 in the top of the second inning during the opening round game of the title hunt.

The Tide tied things up in the bottom of the inning, but NP plated a quartet of runs in the top of the third to spring ahead 5-1.

Pottsville’s defense kept North Pocono at bay for the remainder of the game, and while they managed to score twice late in the fifth, it wasn’t enough to make a comeback.

The 5-3 win earned North Pocono a spot in the semis.

Abington Heights was the top seed and earned a first-round bye. The well-rested Comets banked two runs in the bottom of the second and then tallied one more each in the third and fourth.

North Pocono closed the gap to 4-3 in the fifth, but Abington rallied for eight more in the bottom of the frame and jumped out to a 12-3 lead.

Unable to scratch out more runs in the top of the sixth, the Lady Trojans succumbed by means of the Mercy Rule when the Comets racked up another run in the sixth.

This ended the game, and North Pocono's run, 13-3.

By the Numbers

Junior Ashdon Clark led the team in five offensive categories.

She batted .527 and had 29 hits; 29 RBIs; and tallied a league-best seven home runs. She also was tied with senior Chloe Pehanick for most runs scored with 18.

Pehanick and freshman Dayle Smith each hit.400.

Smith had 26 hits; 12 runs; three homers; and batted in 15. She led the team in doubles with a half-dozen. Pehanick notched 24 hits; 13 RBIs; 5 doubles, a triple and a home run.

Senior Olivia Gentile had the high count in triples with four. She batted .383 with 18 hits; 11 RBIs; and one home run.

Rounding out the peak performers at the plate was sophomore Nicole Zasada. She averaged .382 with 13 hits; nine runs; seven batted-in; a trio of doubles and a pair of homers.

Zasada, along with classmate Courtney Zaic, did the lion’s share of the work in the circle.

Zasada saw action in 51 innings, giving up 82 hits; 54 runs; and 18 walks while sending down 42 on strikes, for a 6.04 ERA.

Zaic posted a 5.47 earned run average, counting 46 Ks while yielding 72 hits; 64 runs; and 40 walks.

Looking Ahead

“I’m looking forward to next year and what’s coming down the line,” said LaFave.

“We’ll return Ashdon and Dayle as well as two pitchers. Defensively Dayle did much better than we anticipated and Ashdon was fantastic at the plate.”

“Additionally, we have a very talented group of incoming freshmen next year. “These girls have won the seventh and eighth grade league titles the past two years and are used to winning.

“So I think the team has a good future ahead of it and I’m excited to see what they can bring to the team.”