Oxford comeback bid falls just short in loss to Abington Heights

ALLENTOWN>>When you can hit the ball like the Oxford Hornets have all year, no deficit seems insurmountable. In Thursday’s PIAA Class 5A quarterfinal softball tilt against Abington Heights (19-6), the Hornets answered a big sixth inning from the Comets with one of their own in the seventh, but the come back bid fell just short, and the Comets advance to the semi-finals against Northern York.

Oxford’s McKenna Frank takes the trhow as the Comets’ Emily Tusker swiped second during the first inning (BILL RUDICK for MediaNews Group)

The Hornets season comes to a close, with the District 1 champions finishing with a record of 21-4.

“One bad inning killed us,” said Oxford coach Josh Socash. “These girls never quit. I thought we played pretty well. We hit the ball hard, and kept battling, even when things weren’t going our way. It’s just tough seeing these kids fall short of their goals, especially the seniors.”

Natalia Donofrio runs down a ball in the outfield (BILL RUDICK for MediaNews Group)

Just when it seemed the momentum was changing and swinging their way after Oxford’s Ashley Flynn hit the first of two bombs to tie the game at 2-2 in the fifth, the Comets answered back in a big way. In the top half of the sixth, the Comets sent eleven batters to the plate, seven of whom scored to make it a 9-2 game.

Ashely Flynn (right) is greeted by teammates after her HR (BILL RUDICK for MediaNews Group)

Though the Hornets were unable to cut the lead in the sixth, they just went right to work in the seventh. Emily Basilio (2 for 4, R) got things going with a one-out single, then scored when Flynn took a ball to deepest center field for her second home run in as many at bats.

“One of my personal goals this season was to get my first career home run, which I did in the game where we clinched (the Ches-Mont American) against Sun Valley a few weeks ago,” said Flynn. “It was kind of crazy to get two today. I just wish they came in a game with a different ending.”

The dinger energized the Hornets, and the excitement began to build, both on the bench and among the throng of Oxford faithful on hand at Patriots Park in Allentown. McKenna Frank (4 for 4, R) was next, and drilled a single up the middle, and Molly Friel worked a walk to make it first and second for Cece Figueroa, who delivered an RBI double, her second of the day, to score Frank.

Oxford’s Angela Beadle connects for one of three base hits on the day (BILL RUDICK for MediaNews Group)

Angela Beadle strolled up to the plate, and continued with her great day with the bat, bringing home both Friel and Figueroa with a single. Beadle finished out her high school career with a sterling performance, going 3 for 4 with two RBI.

Grace Allen followed with a single of her own, and then she and Beadle advanced sixty-feet on a wild pitch, putting the tying run at second base. But the Comets were able to wriggle out of the jam, getting a ground out to put the game away.

Oxford, whose bats have been explosive all season, pounded out 14 hits on the day, four for extra bases, with Basillio, Flynn, Frank, and Figueroa all notching multiple hits on the day.

For Figueroa, the game marked the end of her playing days, but the memories gained over the past four years will stay with her a lifetime.

“I quit pitching my freshman and sophomore years,” said Figueroa, choking back the tears. “I hated it. Socash and Oxford gave me back the love of pitching. It means so much to have had so many believe me, because I’m not the biggest, I’m not the tallest and I don’t throw the hardest. We’ve played together so long, and I will always be so close with everyone. These last couple seasons have been amazing.”

Flynn will lead a solid group of returning players, a group that has tasted success, and will be hungry for more.

“This season, and last season have been great as we became the team with the target on our backs, instead of the one trying to knock the top teams off,” said Flynn. “This kind of success can only give the kids coming up from JV, and up from middle school, something to look up to and aspire to. From a little town like Oxford, I think we have changed the tone.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply