MONARCHS 13, TUCKERS 4
The heart of the Bishop McGann-Mercy softball team lies in its four seniors who play right up the middle of the field: catcher Amanda Burriesci, pitcher Anna Crowley, shortstop Brieanne Bieber and center fielder Karlin McIntyre.
It’s a good group, and all four did their part Tuesday as the Monarchs used an eight-run rally in the third inning to pull away to a 13-4 win over Mattituck in a Suffolk County Conference IV crossover game at Stotzky Memorial Park in Riverhead. The big inning featured two-run singles by Marisa James and Claire Sullivan, and a two-run triple by McIntyre.
Those seniors played well, as did their teammates. Burriesci had quite a day for herself. She went 3 for 4 with a run batted in and two runs scored. In addition, she threw out two runners trying to steal second base and caught two foul balls for the League VIII Monarchs (3-4, 3-4). Crowley did not put up gaudy pitching numbers, but she held Mattituck (0-9, 0-8), a League VII team still searching for its first win, to four runs. Bieber had two hits, an RBI and stole a base in addition to playing a nice defensive game at shortstop. Both Bieber and McIntyre also demonstrated some heads-up base running, taking the extra base when the opportunity presented itself.
And there was more for the Monarchs to feel good about. James drove in three runs. Shannon Willmott had two RBI.
“They did a great job coming in and doing all the little things that pay off,” McGann-Mercy coach Jacki Paton said. “Everybody had played good, solid softball across the board. Heads-up play all over the place. Everybody hustled. They were backing each other up. We were making throws to the correct spots.”
It was the stuff a coach loves to see.
In retrospect, it sounded funny to hear that Paton had been concerned about how her team would do since it had not been on a field in a few days. As it turned out, she had nothing to worry about.
Willmott was involved in McGann-Mercy’s first three runs in the second inning. With two runners on base, Willmott scored them both by swatting a two-out single. She later scored herself from first base after an errant throw from a bunt by Sullivan, making the score 3-1.
Walks are usually Mattituck’s downfall, Tuckers coach Rick Hinrichs said. But that wasn’t the case on Tuesday. Neither of the two Tuckers who pitched against McGann-Mercy, Jackie Hinrichs or Alex Chowbay, issued a walk.
Instead, there were adventures in the outfield that hurt Mattituck on this windy afternoon. Some fly balls that appeared catchable dropped to the ground.
“That’s hard to win when you do that,” Rick Hinrichs said. “It seems like we have a lot of balls dropping in the outfield.”
It was an outfield error that opened the door to McGann-Mercy’s eight-run burst in the third. The first McGann-Mercy batter that inning, McIntyre, lashed a hard liner that an outfielder misplayed. The ball flew past her, and McIntyre raced around the bases to score.
“I think we just missed a lot of easy plays,” said Mattituck left fielder Alexa Orlando.
Orlando had quite a day for herself. Mattituck’s leadoff batter went 4 for 4, scored three runs, drove in a run and stole a base. The Tuckers also received two hits and an RBI apiece from Courtney Ficner and Megan Conklin, who hit a run-scoring triple.
Mattituck did produce 11 hits, only two less than McGann-Mercy, but in the end, the Tuckers came out on the short end of the final score.
“It’s been that kind of a year,” Rick Hinrichs said. “I can see they’re frustrated and they slump sometimes, but for the most part they’ve handled it with grace. As long as we do that, things will get better.”
Paton said there were so many little things about Tuesday’s game that she liked. One of them was the game’s penultimate out. Kaitlin Perino popped up a foul ball that appeared headed back over the backstop. Paton even called her catcher off, but Burriesci didn’t give up on the ball and caught it.
“That’s all Amanda,” Paton said. “She is all 100 percent heart. She works every day on her own to get better without being told. She wants to be the best that she can be, and she works very hard to do that.”