The North Penn-Liberty softball team (5-13) were unable to win their final contest of the 2021 season, as they lost to the top team in the Northern Tier League Large School Division in the Athens Lady Wildcats (15-4).
Liberty fell behind 5-0 in the bottom of the first inning, but the Lady Mounties scored an incredible 11 second-inning runs to gain a hefty 11-5 lead before the Lady Wildcats could finally retire three batters in the frame.
The inning began with a Megan Spohn walk, a Saige Lehman single and a Peyton Chapel walk that loaded the bases with no outs.
The next batter, Alexia Kshir, was able to push in the Lady Mounties’ first run of the contest on a ground out to third that scored Spohn and advanced the two runners.
Kiersten Mitstifer was able to push in two runs on an outfield error and the flood gates began to open for the Mounties.
The Mounties would score eight more runs and be highlighted by Chapel getting back up and hitting a three-run home run to cap off a seven-hit inning that put the Lady Wildcats on their heels.
Athens was able to score two more runs in the bottom of the frame but Liberty still held a commanding 11-7 lead in just the top of the third inning.
Athens was able to score one more run in the bottom of the fourth, but Liberty would chip in two more scores in the top of the fifth to make the score 13-8 and in complete control of the contest, but Athens had one last rally left in the tank.
The Lady Wildcats would outscore the Lady Mounties 8-1 in the rest of the game and were able to hold off the surging Liberty offense to end the game with a score of 16-14.
In the loss, Liberty had 10 hits and was led by Chapel who went 1-4 with a homer and three RBIs, Molli Hall who went 2-5 with two runs scored, Spohn who went 2-4 with an RBI and two runs scored and Lehman who went 2-3 with one RBI and two runs scored.
Lehman and Chapel, both freshman, ended their seasons red hot with Lehman batting 12-20 (0.600) over their final six games with four RBIs, seven runs scored and three extra-base hits over that span.
Chapel has also been on fire during that six-game span batting 0.350 with two home runs, 12 RBIs and six runs scored and the freshman classes’ growth throughout the season is a good sign for future seasons for the Lady Mounties.
The freshman class as a whole batted 0.362 on the year and has shown steady improvement as the year has gone on.
They also received strong pitching performance from Mackenzie Tice who has shown flashes of being an up-and-coming top-tier pitcher.
She may have gone 2-6 but of the 59 runs scored against her, only 29 were earned while also dishing out 73 strikeouts and only allowing 42 hits in over 55 innings of action.
The rest of the underclassmenalso have performed strongly with junior Hayley Ridge batting 0.368 with 12 RBIs and sophomore Hall batting 0.362 with 17 hits and will be slated to return next season with a big roster of young talent.
The Lady Mounties will be a team to watch in the next few seasons as their young roster grows and improves.