Listening to coach Kalp is key to Hempfield softball’s success

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Sunday, June 2, 2019 | 6:14 PM


There is an old saying ‘practice makes perfect.’

It’s something Hempfield softball coach Bob Kalp has preached during more than 40 years of coaching.

Who could argue? Kalp’s Spartans have won seven WPIAL titles, including the past five, and they enter the PIAA Class 6A playoffs as the three-time defending champion.

Hempfield opens its latest defense by making a short drive to Seton Hill to face a familiar foe: Chambersburg, the third-place team from District 3. The game is scheduled for 5 p.m.

The Spartans defeated the Trojans in the state semifinals twice: 2-0 in 2016 and 11-4 in ’17.

Chambersburg (17-6) qualified for the state tournament by defeating Dallastown, 5-4, in nine innings in the third-place game. Hempfield, which had already qualified for the state tournament by reaching the WPIAL finals, crushed North Allegheny, 15-0, in four innings.

“I was confident we could beat them,” Kalp said of North Allegheny. “I thought it would be closer.

“At the beginning of the year, we were an average club. But I kept telling them: Believe me. Keep working every day, every week. We will get better. About the middle of the year, we hit our stride. (Callie) Sowers found her stride. We did, and we got better. We’re a pretty good ball club right now.”

Hempfield (16-6) began the season 6-5, but are 10-1 since.

Sowers tossed a four-inning no-hitter against North Allegheny, allowing only a fourth-inning walk to Rachel Martindale. She struck out five and faced the minimum after getting a double play grounder.

Offensively, the Spartans pounded out 13 hits. Leadoff hitter Laura Fox hit a two-run homer and an RBI double. Catcher Emma Hoffner had three hits and two RBIs. Ashley Orischak had two hits and two RBIs, and Sowers added a triple.

Fox said Kalp kept on the players from the start of the season.

“Kept telling us keep working hard in practice,” she said. “We took the reps, focus, preparation and don’t get ahead of yourself.

Kalp said he couldn’t find out much out about Chambersburg, but what he learned should sound familiar.

“They have a sophomore pitcher, and we have a sophomore pitcher,” Kalp said.

“They have three seniors that start like us, and they are well-coached. The advantage we may have is that we’ve had a few girls play big games. We return six girls that played in the championship last year, and Fox played against them two years ago.”

Chambersburg suffered a close loss to District 3 champion Central Dauphin in the semifinals and bounced back against Dallastown.

Third-year Chambersburg coach Chris Skultety said the Dallastown win was ‘quirky’.

Chambersburg jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but a pair of two-run homers — the second in the top of the seventh inning —tied the score at 4-4.

Sara Washabaugh led Chambersburg’s 10-hit attack with three hits, and Taylor Myers, Kristen Johnson and Hailey Privett each had two hits.

Mackenzie Stake was the winning pitcher, allowing five hits, striking out seven and walking one.

But if Hempfield wants to continue its dominance in the WPIAL, it has to continue to practice what Kalp preaches.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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