Saturday, July 26, 2014

Winning isn’t the only thing

April 28. 2013 11:44PM

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Years from now – maybe at a high school reunion – the girls on the Lake-Lehman softball team will look at this season differently. The miscues on defense, the missed chances on offense, the final scores will all fade.

That might be hard to imagine for a bunch of teenagers right now, especially the Black Knights. They’re 0-9 entering this week and they might be the best winless team I’ve ever seen at the high school level.

Consider the following about the Black Knights:

• They lost a pair of 2-1 games to two of the WVC’s better teams – Nanticoke and then last Friday to Crestwood. They also fell 2-0 early in the season to what has proven to be a very good Tunkhannock squad.

• They scored more runs – eight – against Hazleton Area than any other team. Yet, things unraveled late and they lost 15-8 after leading.

• They went 11 innings with rival Dallas before falling 10-8.

• Their 14-1 opening-season loss to Berwick looks ugly, but it was a 4-1 game entering the seventh inning.

• Starting pitcher Jordan Hodle lowered her ERA from 4.08 to 2.86 this past week, yet Lehman lost twice.

That first loss of last week – an 8-0 setback to Wyoming Valley West where Lehman allowed five unearned runs – left coach Wayne Oplinger perplexed. After all, the team is trying to win, but just can’t.

At least not yet.

The Lehman softball team reminds me of the teener baseball team I played on. We were all good players, but we just couldn’t win. Same problems then are the Black Knights’ problems now.

But then with our season looking like a complete disaster, we managed to beat the best team in the league. Still, we finished with a record something like 3-15.

Funny thing is about a half-dozen of us from that team started reminiscing at our 20th high school reunion. Nobody brought up the record. Nobody mentioned errors or strikeouts or any of our on-field troubles. Yet, we laughed until we cried about the other things, some of which are best left unmentioned.

That might be hard to understand now for Lehman, but give it time and it won’t.

More stats needed

Well, we’re up to five teams sending in statistics other than extra-base hits and pitching. Five of 18 means the WVC is batting .278 and that’s not good.

If your teams stats aren’t listed, it’s because we haven’t received them. Deadline every week is 6 p.m. Saturday for the coaches to email them to

Saving the no-hitter

Hazleton Area’s Becky Demko tossed a no-hitter last Monday against Dallas, but a couple of defensive gems preserved it.

In the third, Dallas’ Taylor Kelley attempted a sacrifice bunt. She popped up the ball about 15 feet from home plate, only to have Hazleton Area third baseman MacKenzie Yori make a diving catch.

The in the seventh, left fielder Victoria Bernotas made a running catch on a sinking liner to start the inning.

District update

District 2 hasn’t posted the dates for the softball tournaments yet. However, the baseball tournaments in Class 3A and 2A start May 17. Based on past schedules, expect the softball playoffs to begin either the day before or day after.

Once again, it’s an open tournament and teams have until May 6 to inform District 2 if they won’t participate. Wyoming Seminary was the only team to opt out last year.

Up north

Valley View and Montrose remain the only unbeaten teams in the Lackawanna Conference. Both are 7-0.

Valley View has won 35 consecutive conference games dating back to 2010. The Cougars’ last conference loss was 6-1 to Old Forge in the Division 2 championship game.

Week in review

Some highlights from this past week:

Hazleton Area’s Maria Trivelpiece had four hits in a 6-5 loss to Berwick. … Holy Redeemer’s Chelsea Skrepenak had three homers in a 12-0 shutout of Northwest. … Ryleigh Fitch had a three-run homer in the top of the seventh in Tunkhannock’s 6-5 victory over Crestwood. … Bree Bednarski had four hits in two Wyoming Area victories. … Holy Redeemer’s Kaya Swanek, Nanticoke’s Jackie Potoski and Tunkhannock’s Erin Smith all improved to 4-0 in the circle. They are the only pitchers with at least four decisions to remain unbeaten.

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