Whitehall softball coach Alexis Berg-Townsend is expecting her first child, a boy, in early July.
The last thing she needed this season was a team to give her problems and add stress.
Berg-Townsend said that these 2013 Zephyrs have been the perfect team for her because they've been supportive, caring, and, most important of all, drama-free.
Well, at least almost drama-free.
Whitehall, which began the season 1-4 and was considered an underachiever at 3-7 at the season's mid-point, has had a super second half with seven wins in eight games and a five-game winning streak entering Thursday's Lehigh Valley Conference finale against Parkland.
A once highly unlikely District 11 berth has become a reality.
"We have seven seniors and four of them have started since they were freshmen," Berg-Townsend said. "Had we not turned things around, it would have been disappointing. I know I wasn't ready for the seniors to be done, and they weren't ready for it either. No one wanted the season to end on May 11."
Berg-Townsend said that the team needed to do better within its own North Division, which proved to be the toughest in the LVC this spring.
The first time around, Whitehall was swept by its three divisional rivals and outscored 21-4.
The Zephs turned the tables on both Northampton and Nazareth, becoming the only team to defeat the Konkrete Kids with a 1-0 thriller last Thursday.
The district-clincher came on Tuesday when Whitehall whipped Nazareth 10-1, completely turning around a 15-3 defeat to the Blue Eagles on April 2.
"I am so happy for the kids," Berg-Townsend said. "They do work hard and now that hard work is being recognized. This is my sixth year and this is one of the most coachable and fun teams that I've been around. They work well with each other. There has been no drama. They know how to play and they have fun. It's great to see them put it all together."
And, the Zephs are well aware that they have a coach who's about to have a child in two months.
"They take care of each other, and they take care of me," Berg-Townsend said.
Berg-Townsend, by the way, has no plans to quit as coach because of the family addition.
"I'm going to keep going," she said. "I love coaching too much and I have family members who will help out."
She also will likely have a long line of baby-sitters lined up on her roster.
For advice on how to cope as a coach and a mother, Berg-Townsend has received considerable advice from Nazareth coach Michelle Schoeneberger. She has coached the Blue Eagles this season while still doting on seven-month-old son Lucas.
"Michelle and me have talked a lot," Berg-Townsend said. "She has been a great help."
As play began on Thursday, Palmerton was the only team to have clinched a Colonial League tournament berth.
The Blue Bombers finished their CL schedule with a 12-4 mark and have a shot at being the top seed when the Colonial's final four unfolds on Tuesday night.
No matter where they're seeded, the Bombers figure to be tough to beat. Certainly, defending league champ Pen Argyl doesn't want to see Palmerton since the Green Knights have lost twice to Glenn Reimer's team — 10-8 and 5-3.
Freshman pitcher Kendra Pekurny has played a big role in Palmerton going from rebuilding mode to championship contender.
However, Reimer said that many of his girls have had a hand in the team's surprising spring.
First baseman Abby Reimer, the coach's daughter, has hit .588 during the team's winning streak and shortstop Janel Tracy has hit .546.
Senior second baseman Sammie Doherty has also been impressive at the top of the order, hitting .408 in her first year of high school softball.
The Bombers might be on the verge of a dynasty, considering the team's youth.
Reimer starts just two seniors and has five sophomores and a pair of freshmen rounding out the lineup.
In all, the team features 13 girls in either 9th or 10th grade.
•Speaking of young players, Liberty's Victoria Schmidt had an impressive performance on Monday when she tossed a four-hit shutout against Pleasant Valley for her first career victory.
•Wilson's Michaela Moninghoff had a day to remember on Monday against Salisbury. She hit a pair of home runs, went 4-for-4 and drove in nine runs in a 14-4 victory that clinched the Warriors' second straight district playoff berth. She was also the winning pitcher.
Wilson has qualified for districts for the third time in four years after not qualifying at all through the 1990s and 2000s.
The Lehigh Valley Conference tournament is set. It will begin on Monday night at Pates Park with Bethlehem Catholic playing Freedom in the 5 p.m. opener and Northampton facing Emmaus in the 7 p.m. nightcap. The winners return to Pates Park for the league title game at 5 p.m. on Thursday.
The Colonial League tournament is set to begin on Tuesday night. It looks like the four teams will be Palmerton, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame and Catasauqua. However, Southern Lehigh still had a shot to get in there and as of Thursday, no seeds were determined.
The semis will be held at 5 and 7 p.m. Tuesday at Pates and the finals are set for 7 p.m. Thursday at Pates after the LVC title game.
The Mountain Valley Conference semis will be held on Wednesday and the championship game on Friday with Pleasant Valley and Stroudsburg the overwhelming favorites to play for the crown.
The Berks County quarterfinals were held on Thursday with both No. 2 seed Brandywine and No. 6 Kutztown in action at Lyons. The semis are set for 5 and 7 p.m. Saturday at Lyons with the finals slated for Tuesday night.
Lehigh opened up defense of its Patriot League title with a 3-1 tourney win over Colgate on Thursday at Kaufman Field. It was the Mountain Hawks' 13th straight win. Lehigh is back in action at 10 a.m. Friday against Army.
DeSales defeated Kean University 1-0 behind a 3-hit shutout by freshman D.J, McCauley on Thursday in its first game in the NCAA Division III regional at Montclair, N.J.
Saint Joseph's, coached by Allentown native Terri Adams, beat St. Louis 4-3 on Thursday in its first game in the Atlantic 10 tournament. The Hawks, having a remarkable 35-8-1 season, will play Fordham at 10 a.m. on Friday in the tourney hosted by UMass.
Adams, by the way, was named the A10's coach of the year, becoming the first Saint Joe's coach ever to receive the honor.