Throughout the season, Palisades’ hitting was a consistent, strong suit as the Pirates collected a .295 team average.
In the Class 3A regional district semifinal against Notre Dame, the team suffered an untimely fate.
Palisades (10-9) was held to four hits in a 10-2 loss to Notre Dame at Easton High School May 24. With the win, Notre Dame – winners of 12 straight games and Colonial League champions – claimed the District 11 title and met New Hope-Solebury in the District One/11 subregional final at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown Thursday.
“We didn’t put the hits together,” said Pirates head coach Gary Koenig.
“We hit the ball right at people. They are a good team. We worked hard all season and we just came up short.”
Senior Jake Welsh started the game for the Pirates, but he struggled and was replaced by freshman Jaden Newton, who threw four innings.
“Jake was throwing well, but he had trouble throwing strikes,” added Koenig. “Jaden came into a tough spot and also threw well for us.”
Notre Dame (14-5) scored a run in the first and then bolstered its lead to 4-0 after four innings. The Pirates were handcuffed throughout the afternoon by Crusaders’ starter and Colonial League MVP Steve Luke, who scattered three hits and struck out six over six innings.
Senior Ethan Brader had two hits for the Pirates, and he finished the year hitting .367 with 12 RBIs and 29 hits. He also had a 3-4 record with a 3.93 ERA on the mound in 11 games with 19 strikeouts in 32 innings.
“We had a great season and it was a lot of fun along the way,” said Brader, who is headed to Muhlenberg College on a football scholarship.
“The young kids really stepped up and played their hearts out. They learned what it takes to win and what had to happen to achieve success along the way.
“It was a blast but sadly it has to come to an end.”
“Ethan was a great leader for us,” added Koenig. “He helped us in many areas and will be missed.”
Brader is one of six seniors leaving the program, but the Pirates’ cupboard will be well stocked. They will return 18 players, the majority of whom saw playing time this season.
Koenig sees the returnees as a key to helping the Pirates overcome some tight losses.
“At the beginning of the season, I thought we were where we should be,” he said. “In the second half of the season, we faced only three teams that weren’t playoff teams and we lost four or five games by a run or two.
“We had some tough games, but I really like the players we have coming back. We will be in good shape for next year.”