North Allegheny softball makes short work of Hempfield
Wednesday, April 14, 2021 | 9:39 PM
Call it stunning. Call it uncharacteristic.
Hempfield softball coach Bob Kalp is calling it what it was.
“A bad, bad day at the office,” Kalp said after his team was flattened Wednesday by visiting North Allegheny, 15-3, in five innings at Robert Kalp Field.
No. 3 Hempfield (4-3, 1-2) was out of sync from the start, and No. 4 North Allegheny (4-5, 2-1) kept runners moving through the turnstiles in a Section 1-6A game that was stopped early because of the 10-run rule.
The Tigers led 8-0 after three innings and erupted for seven runs in the fifth for the knockout punch.
“We made a ton of mental mistakes,” Kalp said. “And we didn’t hit. We’re a young team that can’t accept a little adversity. You can’t hide inexperience.”
Kalp, in his 25th year guiding the Spartans, could not recall his team getting mercy-ruled on its home field.
Longtime assistant Dick Albright also was stumped.
“It has nothing to do with the field,” Kalp said.
North Allegheny avenged a 15-0, three-inning loss to the Spartans the last time the teams met, in the 2019 WPIAL Class 6A final.
Hempfield again played without senior pitcher Callie Sowers, who was not available for the game but is expected back soon. She returned Tuesday after finally getting medically cleared to return from a broken thumb. She was the winning pitcher and homered in a 13-1 win over Butler.
Kalp said he found out just a few hours before Wednesday’s game that Sowers would not be playing.
“The team was excited to get her back, but then our balloon got a hole punched in it,” Kalp said. “It’s not an excuse. But I had to redo the lineup.”
North Allegheny teed off for 13 hits against Hempfield pitchers Hannah Uhrinek and reliever Margaret Howard — freshmen — including a three-run homer from junior catcher Sydni Junker that made it 7-0.
The Tigers benefited from several errors, wild pitches and fielding mistakes by Hempfield, such as slow-developing fielder’s choices and base-running miscues.
“You can’t make those mental errors,” Kalp said. “It’s on me, too. We have to clean things up and get back to work (Thursday).”
Junior Emma Hornyak had a run-scoring single to make it 8-1 in the fourth.
Uhrinek took the loss for Hempfield.
Senior catcher Emma Hoffner singled, doubled and drove in a run for Hempfield. Freshman Olivia Grimmer also had an RBI.
Junior Sydney Mitchell and freshman Sarah Podkul each had a double for the Spartans.
“In 2019, we lost big to North Allegheny early in the season, and we lost to Norwin,” Hoffner said. “We have a lot of work to do, but we know we can come back from this.”
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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