North Pocono's varsity softball squad suffered a heartbreaking loss at Honesdale
North Pocono was in complete control of Tuesday’s Lackawanna League softball game through six innings.
The Lady Trojans had dominated Honesdale in every facet of the contest to that point and enjoyed a 4-1 lead. Unfortunately for a loyal band of local fans who made the trip, though, disaster struck in the seventh.
A scrappy Hornet squad rallied for four runs, two of which scored on squeeze bunts, to steal a 5-4 win.
“This was definitely a tough one to swallow,” veteran manager Michael LaFave admitted. “It’s going to be a long ride home, but we’ll move past it and get ready for the next one.”
With the loss, the local lasses fell to 6-3 on the season. They still hold a half-game lead over Paupack in the Division II standings, but things are tightening up quickly.
The Buckhorns are 6-4, while Honesdale is 5-5 and Delaware Valley is lurking in the tall grass at 4-6.
The road doesn’t get easier for North Pocono anytime soon, either.
The Lady Trojans are in the midst of a brutal stretch that sees them playing 11 games in 12 days.
“We’re trying to make the best of it, but it’s definitely tough,” Coach LaFave said. “This is a young team and lack of practice time is hurting us.”
Weather permitting, North Pocono will be back on the diamond Thursday versus West Scranton.
The Lady Trojans head to Williamsport Area this weekend for that school’s annual invitational tournament. They’ll play Tunkhannock in the opening round and then await their next opponents.
Coach LaFave’s squad returns to divisional action Monday with a re-match against Honesdale. That contest is slated for a 4:30 p.m. start at Covington Township.
“We did a lot of good things today and we’ll try to build on that,” he said. “If we keep pitching well and cut down on some of the youthful mistakes in the field, we’ll be okay.”
On the Field
North Pocono got off to a quick start Tuesday at Honesdale.
The Lady Trojans tallied twice in the third and twice in the fifth, giving starting pitcher Nicole Zasada plenty of support.
A crafty junior righty, Zasada pitched her way out of trouble multiple times and worked into the seventh before running out of gas.
She would eventually hand the ball off to classmate Courtney Zaic in what became a disastrous final frame.
But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves...
One of the game’s pivotal moments came in the top of the third.
Emily Blaine stroked a two-out single and was joined on base moments later when Dayle Smith worked a walk. This set the stage for one of the league’s best power hitters.
And, Ashdon Clark did not disappoint, smoking a line drive to the base of the wall in straight away left. Both runners raced home, but the Hornets executed a perfect relay and Clark was gunned down trying for a triple.
“Most hitters go up there just hoping to make contact, but Ashdon goes up there looking to make something happen,” said Coach LaFave.
“She wants to drive the ball. Ashdon has that attack mentality that separates the great hitters from the good ones.”
Also receiving high marks from their mentor were Smith and Blaine, who comprise a Gold Glove left side of the infield.
Dayle is a sophomore who holds down the Hot Corner, while Blaine is a talented freshman shortstop.
“Both of those girls have been playing really well,” Coach LaFave said.
“Dayle’s just been lights-out, making all the tough plays look routine. Emily’s been doing a great job, too. She has a very bright future.”
Over & Out
North Pocono increased its lead to 4-0 with two more runs in the top of the fifth.
Zaic reached on an error, then scampered home when Blaine ripped an RBI double. Emily eventually scored courtesy of a Clark groundout.
Honesdale finally got on the board in the home half of the frame. Rachel Daub singled, moved up on an error and tallied via Sadie Wood’s RBI single.
The Lady Trojans led 4-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh, but those last three outs proved impossible to get.
The Hornets parlayed four hits, three walks and a pair of squeeze bunts into four runs, winning the game when Zaic issued a bases-loaded walk.
“We deserved a better fate today,” Coach LaFave said. “We made a few mistakes, but we played well enough to win. The girls fought hard and never gave up.”