Hazleton Area softball took the formula it used for a successful 2013 season and abandoned it this year.
It might sound silly, but it really isn’t. This year’s version of the Cougars differs from last year’s in one significant spot — in the circle.
With standout pitcher Becky Demko gone, coach Vince Trivelpiece has decided a different approach was needed.
“We play our offense a little different than in the past,” Trivelpiece said. “In the past, one or two runs might win. Now we’re looking to score a little more than we used to.”
Hazleton Area went 14-1 last season to capture the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 title. Demko pitched her way to divisional co-MVP honors by striking out 93, allowing 62 hits and 13 earned runs in 90.2 innings. The Cougars held nine opponents to two runs or less and three more to three runs.
With those kind of numbers, Hazleton Area was able to be a bit conservative on offense. Not so this year as three of Hazleton Area’s six opponents have scored four runs. So that means the Cougars need more production and that will come via baserunning.
Hazleton Area stole nine bases in its 7-3 victory over Coughlin. The Cougars don’t have a lot of power, but they have plenty of speed.
“When Demko pitched, one or two was enough,” Trivelpiece said.
The weather has played havoc with the schedule. The Hazleton Area at Nanticoke showdown has been postponed five times alone.
Through Saturday’s action, there have been a total of 39 weather-related postponements. The entire total for last season was seven.
Well, almost. We’re still missing some game results and that makes running the statistical leaders kind of useless.
The games known that are missing are: Wyoming Area at Coughlin; Wyoming Valley West at Pittston Area; Northwest at Meyers; Hanover Area at Northwest; MMI Prep at Northwest; and Pittston Area at Berwick.
Pittston Area’s Taryn Ashby probably has the most famous dad in the WVC. Andy Ashby pitched 14 years in the major leagues, mostly with the San Diego Padres. Andy, though, probably never accomplished this.
Taryn was batting against Crestwood when she hit a foul liner over the 6-foot fence in front of the Crestwood dugout and landed the ball into a garbage can.
Weather has also seemed to affect fielding. There’s been some incredibly strong winds at games, making some outfielders look silly trying to track flyballs and leading to unexpected drops.
Good news is Wyoming Area has three home games this week. The bad news is those games could decide whether the Warriors are still contenders in Division 2.
Wyoming Area (6-2) is a game back of first-place Tunkhannock (7-1) in the division. The Warriors play today against Crestwood (3-6 Div. 1), which has lost three one-run games. Then Division 2 rival Berwick (5-2) pays a visit Tuesday followed by Division 1 first-place team Hazleton Area (5-1) on Thursday.
The Warriors defeated Tunkhannock 7-5 on April 3. The teams will meet again at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 10, at Tunkhannock.
Here they are, provided the WVC and Lackawanna League don’t get socked with more bad weather down the stretch. District 2 set game times for 4:30 p.m. weekdays, although that can change due to end-of-year school events.
May 19: Opening round in Class 3A and 2A.
May 20: Opening round in Class 4A and A.
May 21: Second round in Class 3A and 2A.
May 22: Semifinals in Class 4A and A.
May 23: Semifinals in Class 3A and 2A.
May 27: Championships in Class 3A, 2A and A.
May 28: Championship in Class 4A.
Once again, District 2 will continue the ridiculous open-tournament format, meaning everyone can play regardless of record. Teams not wanting to participate must notify District 2 by May 5.
WVC SOFTBALL STANDINGS
Division 1 `W`L`Pct`GB`RS`RA
Wyo Val West`3`5`.375`3`44`55
Holy Redeemer`5`0`1.000`— `65`9
MMI Prep`0`2`.000`3½ `8`17