By Benito Vila
The idea is to get ‘em on, move ‘em up and get ‘em in. It sounds a bit like the theme to TV’s Rawhide, but a softball team that does that sees the wins add up; those that leaves runners on risk having losses do the same instead.
After a quick set of games this week, the Pierson varsity softball Lady Whalers have shown they can swing the bats. Sparked by timely hitting, the girls opened League VIII play with a one-sided 10-2 win on Friday in Center Moriches.
A few of those hits and a couple of those runs would have come in nicely the next day, but instead Rocky Point came into Mashashimuet Park and made off with a 5-4 win, the bats getting quiet and cold late in a non-league game.
The bats were anything but silent Tuesday against Mercy, 11 Pierson runners reaching base, seven by base hit. All that was missing was a booming blast or a timely bloop to break the game open. Instead, Mercy took advantage of an infield miscue to push across the game’s only run, an errant throw with two outs in the fifth giving the visitors the edge.
Lady Whaler’s coach Melissa Edwards described Tuesday’s game as “not pretty. We should have come away with a win. We stranded 11. It was a tough loss for the kids because I know the work they’ve put in, and they have high expectations.”
Â “Something is not clicking and this coming week we are going to dissect our hitting and see what we need to do get runners across the plate. We have great hitters, they just need to step into the box and believe they can deliver and put the ball in play. Once we get runners on we move them; we are very aggressive. Now we just need to finish.”
Coach Edwards said the team’s first win Friday “was just fun to watch. The girls came out ready to play from the first pitch to the last. It was a complete team effort. They played solid defense and all of them used their bats, got on base and made things happen.”
In re-capping individual performances, she said, “Sam Federico started the game as the pitcher, hit her spots well and kept their lineup shut down, finishing with four innings of two-hit ball. Sam also went four-for-four on the day with two home runs and six RBIs, Kaci Koehne had a standout day at the plate, going three-for-four and Natalie Abbene went three-for-four as well.”
Her comments on Saturday’s loss echoed those of Tuesday’s, seeing her team “keep it close, but we stranded too many runners. As a team, we can get kids on; it just comes down to getting them to cross the plate. Melanie Stafford was our pitcher and she threw well and I just wish we were able to give her the ‘W’. It just goes to show how important capitalizing with runners on is.”
The Lady Whalers, now 1-1 in league play and 1-3 overall, have Southold/Greenport coming to the park tomorrow for a 4:30 start. On Saturday, the girls scrimmage at William Floyd at 10 a.m. and on Tuesday they host Hampton Bays in the park at 2 p.m.
The JV Lady Whalers have started their league schedule 2-0, outscoring Center Moriches 20-2 and Mercy 15-5; a 8-5 loss to Ross in the park Monday makes their overall record 3-2.
JV coach Kathy Amicucci has been pleased by the pitching of Lindsey Duran, who started all four games this week and “kept her head regardless of what’s going on behind her.”
Saturday’s 6-5 win over Rocky Point came in extra innings, a Rebecca Speckenbach double knocking in Samantha James in the bottom of the ninth. Coach Amicucci felt her team played well and complemented their ability to “brush off their mistakes and keep going.”
The team highlight of the week came Tuesday, when illness and injury left the JV with just nine players. By moving players around and finding suitable positions for role players, Chelsea Freleng, Gemma Gardella, and Brittany Scala, Coach Amicucci was delighted to see the solid result, a 15-5 win.
Going through some of the best individual performances, Coach Amicucci described the aggressive baserunning of Jessica Warne and the consistent hitting of Sam James, but seem most thrilled by Freleng’s long triple in the loss to the Ravens.