Class B match-ups lead to three straight losses
By Andrew Rudansky
The Lady Whalers dropped their third straight game this week in a 15-0 mercy rule loss to the Babylon Panthers on Monday, April 30.
“It’s a very humbling day,” said Melissa Edwards, head coach of the Pierson/Bridgehampton varsity softball team after the home loss.
From the very first inning, the Lady Whalers were noticeably overpowered by the still-undefeated Panthers, (10-0). Currently Babylon ranks as the number-two Class B team in the state, according to the New York State Sportswriters Association.
The Lady Whalers started the game with a new-look defense, switching around most of the infield. Edwards brought Rebecca Speckenbach from the outfield in to third, switched Emma Romeo to second base, and put Kasey Gilbride in at short stop.
“It was just needed,” said Edwards, “the past four games we have just not played very well, we haven’t been doing the little things.”
Edwards added that the new lineup she has now will stay as is until the end of the season.
It didn’t take long for the the Panthers to exploit this new, untested infield, surging ahead in the third inning with a 11-run tear.
“We had errors at shortstop and around the infield, shots out to left field. It was like watching a ping pong game for a while there,” said Edwards after the game.
Freshman Sammy Duchemin started on the mound for Pierson/Bridgehampton, replacing the team’s number one pitcher Melanie Stafford. Duchemin finished with 2 strikeouts and 3 walks through the five-inning game.
Edwards decided to give Duchemin the starting spot after Stafford struggled through the past few games.
“[Melanie Stafford] wasn’t the Melanie I am used to from the past few games, so I thought we would do a switch,” said Edwards. “Sammy [Duchemin] has come in and done very well for us, I think she held her own, but we did not play very sound defense behind her.”
At the plate, the Whalers were only able to rack up 3 hits against Babylon pitcher Tiana Giuliano who tallied 8 strikeouts through the five innings.
Romeo had a double in the first inning, followed by Gilbride who hit a single in the same, however, both runners were left stranded. Catherine Musnicki singled in the second inning, but the Lady Whalers once again were unable to capitalize on the situation.
This loss to Babylon was the third in a row for the Lady Whalers, all of them coming from Class B teams. Pierson/Bridgehampton, a Class C team, has struggled this season when competing against the larger B schools.
Most recently the Lady Whalers lost to Bayport-Blue Point 10-4 on April 24, and then dropped to Mount Sinai 8-2 on April 25.
“We are almost done with our Bs, so we go back to playing our Cs,” said Edwards. “And you know that we play our Cs very soundly, we do very well against them.”
Section XI, the organizing body for Suffolk County high school athletics, schedules league matches between League VIII and VII, creating B-C interclass games throughout the year.
Before the recent three-game skid, the team started the year with an impressive 5-1 start. Now with a record of 5-4, the Lady Whalers are struggling to capture one of the League VIII playoff berths. Any team that reaches a .500 record of 8-8 is automatically given a spot in the post season.
The Whalers will need to win three of their remaining seven games to assure a fifth straight appearance in the post season. Edwards said that she is not worried, and feels her team can come back to form for their upcoming games.
“They are going to rebound, they better rebound,” said Edwards.
This week the Lady Whalers have a loaded schedule, they next travel to Stony Brook (2-8) on Friday, May 4 at 4:30 p.m. They will then move on to challenge League VII Mattituck on the following day, Saturday, May 5 at 2 p.m.
The Lady Whalers’ next home game will be held on Tuesday, May 8 at 4:30 p.m. when they host the Port Jefferson Royals (2-7).