WILDCATS 12, WARRIORS 2
Shoreham-Wading River’s senior trio of Caitlin Mirabell, Alex Hutchins and Hailey Tilton have experienced plenty of thrilling moments during their varsity careers. Two years ago, as sophomores, they each played pivotal roles in leading the Wildcats to the League VII title.
The next season, the good times faded. The Wildcats, rebuilding after losing their four-year starting pitcher, fell short of the playoffs in a rare down year.
Now as seniors, the girls found themselves leading a surprisingly young team with a new coach for their final year as Wildcats.
“Coming off of last year, I wanted to do better,” Tilton said. “I’m very happy with how we’re doing this year.”
No one might have guessed just how well the Wildcats have rebounded this season. Ten games into the season, the Wildcats are 8-2, one win away from a playoff spot and in the hunt with Mount Sinai and Miller Place for the League V title.
Offense has carried the way. The Wildcats are averaging more than 10 runs per game, a number boosted by their latest win Tuesday, a 12-2 victory at home against Comsewogue.
The seniors all played big roles. Tilton went 2-for-4 with a double and 3 RBIs. Mirabell hit a pair of doubles in the leadoff spot. Hutchins drove in two runs while playing a smooth shortstop.
The Wildcats struck for four runs in the opening inning to quickly take command against the Warriors. Comsewogue didn’t help its cause with three errors in the inning.
Shoreham struck for four more in the fourth inning and again in the sixth inning.
The Wildcats fielded a lineup with three eighth graders. Second baseman Nickey Ness batted second, followed by center fielder Joy Papagianopoulos (2-for-5). Catcher Melissa Marchese, who drove in one run, batted sixth. Another eighth grader is out injured.
A big part of the Wildcats’ turnaround this year has been freshman pitcher Victoria Coman. She pitched a complete game against the Warriors, giving up seven hits. The Wildcats were strong in the field behind her. She struck out only three batters as the defense took care of the rest.
The Wildcats will get right back at it Wednesday with a game at Westhampton that had been postponed. A win would clinch a spot in the playoffs for Shoreham.