by Jesse Rosenthal
An easy one-two-three top of the first for Ace pitcher Melanie Stafford, and a two-out two-run rally in the bottom of the first for the able bats of the Peirson Lady Whalers lineup, were accurate indications of what direction the season home opener against the Mattituck Tuckers was going. Said direction being up for Peirson and down for Mattituck. Heads-up defense, superior pitching from Stafford, and hot bats all day led to an 11-3 victory at home for the Lady Whalers on Tuesday.
Coming off of a disappointing 9-5 loss in Port Jefferson on Monday where sloppy defense and runners left on base played a large part in the outcome of the game, the Lady Whalers were looking to tighten up their defense and capitalize offensively on errors against Mattituck. They accomplished both of those goals like they had never even heard of Port Jefferson.
After two quick outs in the bottom of the first, 2B Lindsey Warne hit a hard single to short center field beginning a two-out rally as Warne scored on a hard hit single passed the second basemen off the bat of cleanup artist Kaci Koehne. Smart base running from Koehne led to two stolen bases and a run scored on a passed ball at home plate. This marked the beginning of a long day for Mattituck’s catcher.
Some serious heat from Stafford in the circle and a great head’s up play on a low foul ball by catcher Emma Romeo gave the Lady Whalers another three up and three down in the top of the 2nd.
Rattled by a plethora of colorful chants from the Lady Whaler’s bench, Mattituck pitcher Sarah Perkins just couldn’t hold it together. A hard double up the right field line, followed by a stolen base and then a well-placed bunt from RF Natalie Abbene and some careless defense from Mattituck’s infield resulted in another two runs, making it 4-0 Peirson.
After striking out the side in twelve pitches to start the third, Stafford led off the bottom half with a strike out of her own, but was given a little run support from her offense. A throwing error and another stolen base let Samantha James score on a grounder off the bat of Nina Hemby to make it 5-0.
A hard grounder knocked down by 3B Kasey Gilbride gave Mattituck their first baserunner of the game but they were unable to capitalize as Stafford’s pitching, supported by the Lady Whaler’s solid defense, continued to keep the shutout alive. The top of fifth was equally unproductive for the Tuckers as Natalie Abbene made a superb play on a short fly ball (the first hit out of the infield) in center field, and more head’s up defense from Romeo behind the plate kept Mattituck’s offense at bay.
The Lady whalers were able put two more runs on the board through the bottom of the forth and fifth, with hits from Jess Warne, Lindsey Warne, Melanie Stafford and Nina Hemby. More problems for Mattitucks catcher in the fourth and close call at home plate for Melanie Stafford on a wild pitch in the fifth contributed to putting a comeback further out of reach.
Mattituck was able to score two runs in top of the sixth on a couple infield errors from Peirson, but the Lady Whalers iced this one the bottom half the inning scoring three more runs on three hits and two stolen bases.
Of the win, coach Edwards said, “our bats came alive, we hit well. It was a team win. Everyone did their job.”
The Lady Whalers have another home game on thursday at 4:30 against Ross/SI.