The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

April 1, 2014

Jon Gerardi's high school softball column: Valley alums excel in college

Finally the spring season is upon us, but unfortunately, it seems Mother Nature wants to toy with us. Hopefully that changes soon, because I sure can't wait to actually get to cover some softball games, and I'm sure you folks can't wait to watch some either.

While I am the high school softball beat writer here at The Daily Item, this week I'm going to turn my attention to college softball. Don't worry, there'll be plenty of high school columns in the weeks to follow. The season's only just begun, after all.

If you happen to follow me on Twitter, you know I update everyone not just on area scores, but I try my best to keep tabs on Valley athletes who play in college and inform people on how they're doing.

And while it's no surprise in the least that we're a hotbed for softball talent, I realized so far this year there's a good amount of area freshmen starting in college who are excelling on the field, which just further speaks to the talent here in the Valley.

First, you have a dynamic pitching combo of Warrior Run grad Tay Parker and Southern Columbia grad Mallory Tomaschik over at Bloomsburg. Both have seen time so far in the circle this year, and Parker is already sitting at 5-3 on the season -- with a team-best 1.16 ERA -- while Tomaschik's 2-2 with a 1.88 ERA.

Parker also has 15 hits in as many games with nine RBIs and two doubles. In her eight games pitching, Parker's recorded 32 strikeouts while Tomaschik has 14 through four games.

At Elizabethtown College, Southern Columbia grad Kirstin Blass is playing solid at second base and has started in 17 of the Blue Jays' 18 games this year.

All-state outfielder and Lourdes grad Emily Long is playing superb over at Keystone College, and she was named Colonial States Athletic Conference's Player of the Week two weeks ago for her play during a spring break tournament. Not to mention the former Red Raider is batting .379 on the season -- second best on the team -- and has a team-high 11 hits, including a double, a team-high nine RBIs and her first collegiate home run.

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