BLUE WAVES 13, FALCONS 5
Winning high school softball games may not always come down to which team has the better pitcher or the more potent offense. When two teams of similar ability square off, it’s sometimes about which team makes the fewest mistakes.
Pitch well, make plays in the field and a team will always have a chance to win.
“You win by pitching, defense and scoring on the other team’s mistakes,” said Riverhead coach Bob Fox.
In their season opener against Deer Park Tuesday afternoon at Riverhead High School, the Blue Waves stuck to the simple formula for a 13-5 win. It was far from perfect, but when a Falcons miscue opened the door for Riverhead, the Blue Waves jumped all over it.
They scored four in the first, three of which were unearned. And a pair of Deer Park errors in the fourth helped the Blue Waves blow the game open after the Falcons fought back to tie the game at 4 in the third.
“It definitely feels good to win by a lot,” said junior Amanda Graziano, who threw a complete game for Riverhead.
Graziano mixed in a screwball with her fastball to tally six strikeouts over seven innings. She gave up six hits and walked five.
“I felt good,” she said. “My arm was loose the whole time. It wasn’t tight. I was surprised because it was cold.”
Graziano also had a big day at the plate. She was 2-for-4 with three runs and an RBI.
Most of the damage by Deer Park came in the third inning when the Falcons struck for four runs. A few errors and two walks helped account for the scoring.
Fox said most of the miscues were mental mistakes.
“I said you can be a great physical player and be not good mentally and hurt your team,” he said. “Or you can be an average physical player but a great mental player and you’re going to help the team.”
The Falcons’ second run of the game came on a sacrifice fly to right field. The runner at third left the base early, but the Blue Waves didn’t appeal, so the run stood. The home plate umpire later confirmed that the runner indeed left early. The Falcons added two more runs in the inning, but it didn’t matter in the end as the Blue Waves’ bats more than made up for it.
While scoring 13 runs was a great way to start the season, Fox doesn’t envision his team being equipped to tally runs like that on a consistent basis. “It may take us three games to score 13 runs,” he said.
The first six hitters in the lineup for Riverhead all delivered at least two hits. Second baseman Sara Tucci scored two runs batting leadoff. Right fielder Joscelin Morrow was 2-2 with a pair of runs and shortstop Alex McKillop was 2-for-3 with three runs and an RBI.
First baseman Stephanie Falise hit a double and a two-run single in the fifth inning. Catcher Megan Weiss had a pair of singles and scored twice.
“It was definitely an advantage getting runs in the first inning,” Graziano said. “It gets the team up and ready for the entire game. Just working together as a family we came back.”
Center fielder Allison Doscinski made one of the top defensive plays of the game in the sixth inning. With two out and a runner on second, she raced to her right into the gap to make a running grab on a long fly ball. McKillop also had a strong game defensively at short.
The Blue Waves took the lead for good in the third inning. With two out and the bases loaded, Fox called for Amanda Commins to pinch hit in the ninth spot. She promptly delivered a two-run single to left field to make it 6-4.
The Blue Waves never looked back.
“Our bats were on the whole entire game,” Graziano said.