Before the season began, local softball pundits picked North Pocono and Wallenpaupack Area to battle it out for the Lackawanna League Division Two title.
After Monday's ballgame, though, it appears Honesdale should be mentioned in that conversation as well.
The Lady Hornets had reeled off four straight wins to start the season and carried a 1-0 lead over North Pocono into the seventh inning.
Sadly for Maple City fans, the Trojans rallied to deal their hosts a heartbreaking 2-1 setback and knock them from the ranks of the unbeaten.
"That's a darn good team over there," Coach Michael Lafave said of Honesdale. "Every time we play them, it's a battle right down to the last out. Today was no different. We're lucky to get out of here with a win."
Honesdale skipper Dave Patrisso returned the compliment.
"There's no denying that North Pocono is a talented team," he said. "But, I really believe that we're right up there too. Once we get our bats going, we'll be able to hang with just about anybody."
With this loss, Honesdale's record falls to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the league. The Lady Hornets are back on the diamond Thursday with a home game against archrival Paupack. That conetst is slated for a 4:30 p.m. start at the HHS Complex.
Well over a hundred fans turned out on a picture perfect spring afternoon to cheer on the Lady Hornets.
Those fans were treated to a good old-fashioned pitchers duel featuring North Pocono's Lauren Antosh and Faith Decker of Honesdale.
These two talented twirlers handcuffed hitters and matched zeroes through the first six innings.
Antosh ran into a bit of trouble in the home first, but found her rythmn and pitched her way out. The senior righty would go on to allow just three basehits in seven innings. She surrendered one earned run and piled up eight strikeouts.
Page 2 of 3 - "When Lauren hits her spots and moves the ball round like that, she's awfully tough to beat," said Coach Lafave. "
Decker was every bit as impressive. The Lady Hornet ace gave up three hits over the course of seven frames. She struck out four Trojans and retired 10 consecutive batters at one point.
"I don't think we could ask for much more from Faith," said Coach Patrisso. "She's been outstanding for us this year. When Faith has that kind of command, she's absolutely one of the best pitchers around."
Honesdale finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth inning, plating one run in textbook fashion.
Jackie Gallik ignited the Lady Hornets rally by ripping a line single past North Pocono third baseman Kristy Parola.
Moments later, Megan Benson followed with a perfectly-executed sacrifice bunt. This set the stage for Stacy Hart, who elicited a roar from the big home crowd by lashing an RBI single to right center.
Gallik scampered home, giving Honesdale a 1-0 lead.
"We talk about that all the time: Get 'em on, get 'em over and get 'em in," Coach Patrisso said. "And in that inning, it's exactly what we did."
Three outs away from defeat, the Trojans showed just why they're so highly regarded in the Lackawanna League.
Shortstop Megan Taylor pounced on a high heater and ripped it to the opposite field. Benson raced back and got a glove on it, but couldn't hang on. Taylor wound up on third with a triple and nobody out.
Decker responded by striking out Antosh. Maria Day then tied the game with a sacrifice fly before a fatal infield error gave North Pocono the lead.
Antosh retired the side 1-2-3 in the home half of the seventh, sealing the deal on a razor-thin 2–1 win.
Page 3 of 3 - "Losing a game like this really hurts," said Coach Patrisso. "The girls fought hard and gave it everything they had. I can't find fault with the effort, but we need for bats to wake up and get the offense going."
Gallik led Honesdale's attack with two hits in three trips.
Score by Innings...
NP (1-1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 - 2
HON (1-1) 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 - 1