WILDCATS 6, MUSTANGS 3
Shoreham-Wading River senior Maddie Massa put her head down and ran. And ran and ran.
Massa lined a 1-2 pitch into right field Saturday night against Mount Sinai at Diamond in the Pines in Coram. In a massive outfield more than twice the size of a typical softball field, the ball kept rolling and rolling before Mount Sinai’s right fielder could track it down.
Massa sprinted all the way around the bases for an inside-the-park home run, the second of the game for Shoreham in a 6-3 non-league victory.
“I almost tripped and fell on my face [coming around third],” Massa said. “I was just moving.”
Massa’s fifth-inning homer gave the Wildcats (4-2, 3-2 League VI) some breathing room after the Mustangs (4-2, 3-1 League VII) had trimmed their four-run lead in half. Center fielder Caitlin Mirabell led off the fifth with a single to right field. Mount Sinai pitcher Holly Drasser got the next two batters before Massa hit her second home run of the season. Her first came four days ago against Sayville, a more conventional shot that cleared the fences.
“The left fielder helped me out a little bit, but I thought it went over,” Massa said.
Either way, it goes in the books as a pair of home runs for the Shoreham catcher, who also scored a run in the first inning and walked in the third against the Mustangs.
The Wildcats made good use of the spacious outfield. Shortstop Brittany Mahan hit a grand slam in the first inning by lining a ball into right field. It got past the outfielder and kept rolling, giving Mahan plenty of time to circle the bases.
“When she grabs ahold of a pitch, she’s got a lot of strength, and she can let it go,” said Shoreham coach Christina Shiffman. “She was in a little bit of a slump the first few games, so hopefully that was her breakout hit.”
The Wildcats beneffited from a pair of miscues to open the game by Mount Sinai. The first two batters for Shoreham hit towering fly balls that were dropped. All four of the first-inning runs were unearned.
The kind of line drives the Wildcats hit on the home runs were exactly the type of hits they strive for each at-bat.
“We try to hit line drives all the time,” Shiffman said. “They fell in the right places today. These girls have been working really hard and it’s definitely been paying off.”
The Wildcats won their third straight game after starting the season 1-2.
Junior Chelsea Hawks earned the win for Shoreham. She pitched a complete game and struck out 12. Her biggest strikeouts came in the fifth inning after the Mustangs put the first two runners aboard.
The Mustangs had the heart of the order up with a chance to climb back into the game after the Wildcats had just gone back ahead by four.
Hawks buckled down to strike out the next three batters and preserve the Wildcats’ lead.
“She was throwing hard and hitting her spots,” said Massa, who has caught Hawks since middle school.
Hawks took a line drive off her right shin on the first pitch of the fifth inning. She persevered through the pain and remained in the game after taking a quick breather in the circle.
“I know she’s a tough girl,” Massa said. “She’s always been a great player, so I know it hurt and I know that in her head she was probably cursing up a storm, but she was ready to go back in there.”
Shiffman said Hawks has bounced back this week after the Wildcats lost a pair of games early in the season in which they gave up 22 runs. In the Wildcats’ four victories this year, they’ve given up a total of three runs, all of which came Saturday.
“The last three games she’s really proven that she’s come a long way just from three weeks ago,” Shiffman said.
The Wildcats only had two other hits in addition to the home runs. Mount Sinai had 10 hits, including RBI singles by Angelina Corrente, Emily Solomos and Michelle Piergiorgi. Mount Sinai catcher Jordan Fiore was 2-for-4 with a double, the only extra base hit for the Mustangs.
Saturday’s game was part of a breast cancer fundraiser. Mount Sinai wore jerseys with pink lettering while also donning pink socks.