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Softball: SWR’s record is no longer spotless

The undefeated record is no more.

Shoreham-Wading River joined the ranks of high school softball teams that have a mark against them in the “L” column Saturday. The Wildcats had difficulty handling pitcher Karissa Lawrence and not even a late home run by Melissa Marchese was enough to prevent a seven-game win streak from coming to an end with a 5-2 defeat at Rocky Point High School.

This could be considered a new era for Rocky Point softball. The League VIII Eagles (4-4) have a new complex, a new coach (Brian Glen) and new uniforms. With all of that, they introduced something new to the season: a Shoreham loss.

“I was hoping to make it through the season undefeated, but it doesn’t mean anything,” Marchese said. “It’s one game. We can still come back. We can go all the way.”

Saturday was just not Shoreham’s day. The League IX Wildcats (7-1) had difficulty putting the bat on the ball against Lawrence. The senior righthander fired 10 strikeouts against two walks as Shoreham was outhit, 12-4.

“She had a good high ball and she was pretty fast, but it was nothing we shouldn’t have been able to hit,” said Shoreham shortstop Joy Papagianopoulos.

Lawrence also caused damage in the batter’s box with a pair of run-scoring singles. Rocky Point’s No. 3 batter, Katie Wilbur, went 3-for-3, scored twice and stole a base.

After Katlynn McGivney opened up the game by chopping a single through middle, Shoreham didn’t get another hit until Marchese found a waist-high pitch down the middle to her liking and smacked her third home run of the season one out into the sixth inning. “I was hoping that it would be the spark to start us off,” said Marchese, who passed Bailey Rand for the team lead with 17 RBIs this season.

The two-run blast over the leftfield fence came after Rocky Point had scored all of its runs.

“If I had to sum this game up, we played a little down today and we’re better than that,” Shoreham coach Bill King said. “We’re better than what you saw today. We had opportunities and we didn’t gain on them.”

Kelly McAdams knocked in Rocky Point’s first two runs on a groundout in the first and another in the third. Two more runs scored in the third, courtesy of RBI singles smashed by Lawrence and Kay Metcalf.

Rocky Point made it 5-0 in the fifth when Lawrence banged an RBI single past third baseman Lindsey McKenna.

The way the game was going, one would have thought the teams’ records were reversed and Rocky Point was the unbeaten team.

If Rocky Point looked better than its record, there may be a reason for that. Rocky Point has a young team, with four freshmen and one sophomore who start. Glen said the Eagles played the tough part of their schedule early and have been competitive with the best teams in their league, but their inexperience showed at inopportune times.

“This is great,” Glen answered after being asked how big the win was for his team. “Nobody became 7 and 0 by accident, so we knew that we were going to go up against a team that has done everything it needed to do to this point to be successful.”

With only 12 players on its roster, Shoreham adheres to the mantra that it is quality that counts, not quantity. The Wildcats surely have quality.

“That’s what matters,” Papagianopoulos said. “We have a very solid defense and girls that just worked really hard in the offseason that really showed up this year.”

How much does this loss matter in the scheme of things?

“It’s still early in the season,” Papagianopoulos said. “I think we can get past it. It’s a good wake-up call for us.”

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Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River shortstop Joy Papagianopoulos and coach Bill King before Saturday’s game in Rocky Point. (Credit: Bob Liepa)