Nazareth's season ends in semifinals

Posted: June 12, 2013

ALLENTOWN - After Nazareth Academy lost in the PIAA Class AAA softball semifinals, 6-3, against Valley View on Tuesday, players proceeded off the field after postgame handshakes with their heads down.

Nazareth assistant coach Brian Kalesse followed behind the line, looking up and sporting a slight grin. He remained energetic and talkative, proud of the team that had made it farther than any team in school history.

"We didn't get blown out," Kalesse said. "For a small academy from Philly that's always underestimated, they just continued to fight.

"They've never been here before. This is a record and a plus. The way they fought, even down to the last inning, I was proud of them. There's no quit in them."

The size of the schools was evident before the game even started. Whereas Nazareth, a 300-student, all-girls school, might have brought two dozen fans, Valley View, a coed school with an enrollment of about 700, packed two bleachers, with a section of heckling, chanting, and rowdy students.

Nazareth, whose players joked about the size differential before the game, used it as fuel to pick up two quick runs in the first inning - on Brittany Colombo's suicide squeeze, which scored Tamara Kennings, and Jill Bovitt's sacrifice fly, plating Patricia Kalesse - to quiet the crowd temporarily.

"It kind of just motivated us," Colombo said. "Us being a small school, we really wanted to come out and give it our all. I think we did that."

"We're at the point where we can overcome boys yelling obscenities," Nazareth senior pitcher Emily Shellenberger added.

Shellenberger made the lead stand for most of the game. Valley View picked up a run in the second, and then did most of its damage with five runs in the fifth to storm back.

"They hit where we weren't," said Shellenberger, who struck out six over five innings. "Softball's luck. They were a good team, but they had more luck than we did."

The Pandas' Kaitlin O'Sullivan homered leading off the seventh, but the school's best season came to an end shortly after.

"We're the best team that Nazareth's ever had," Shellenberger said. "It sets goals for girls who haven't come up yet."

Nazareth 200 000 1 - 3 5 1

Valley View 010 050 x - 6 7 1

WP: Gina Chieffallo. LP: Emily Shellenberger. 2B: VV-Blayse Cholish. HR: N-Kaitlin O'Sullivan.

Contact Nick Carroll and Follow on Twitter @NickJCarroll.

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