With Jessie Stavola on the mound, the rest of the East Hampton softball team doesn’t need to provide much in the way of offense or defense to get a victory. After all, it’s not rare for the senior ace to account for all but one or two of her team’s outs in any given game, while one or two Lady Bonacker runs usually are enough to secure a win.
That being said, East Hampton head coach Lou Reale has made improvement on hitting and defense the main priorities in practice this season. Although Stavola is pretty much a no-hitter waiting to happen, Reale knows that her effort alone won’t get the Lady Bonackers where they want to be at the end of this season—back in the New York State tournament.
That was clearly illustrated during the team’s preseason trip to Florida, when Stavola struck out 20 batters in one game, but East Hampton lost because of fielding errors. There are plenty of new and young faces on the Lady Bonackers team this season, and the loss of senior shortstop Kelsey Bodziner to a knee injury has compounded the issue early on in the year. Bodziner was scheduled to see a doctor earlier this week and a timetable for her return was not yet been set.
“It makes a big difference having her in there,” Reale said of Bodziner. “She’s a senior and she knows what’s going on. She was also hitting the ball well before she got hurt, so it’s a big loss.”
Fortunately, the Lady Bonackers didn’t need a strong effort on defense to pick up their first League VI win, beating Rocky Point 7-0 at home on April 2. Stavola pitched a one-hitter with 19 strikeouts, fanning the first 12 batters she faced. She had a perfect game heading into the fifth inning and did not walk any batters in the game.
The East Hampton offense also looked good, which Reale said was nice to see. Junior third baseman Nicole Fierro was 2 for 3, while senior first baseman Marta Johann had an RBI double and Stavola recorded an RBI as well.
“We had five hits, and we were putting the bat on the ball, which is good,” Reale said.
He added, however, that with plenty of tough teams ahead of them, it won’t always be quite so easy.
“Defensively, we weren’t tested and it’s not going to be like that all year,” he said. “Our defense has been looking a little shaky with all the new kids, so we really have to work on not making mental mistakes.”
East Hampton will host Harborfields today, April 9, at 4:30 p.m. and will visit Westhampton Beach tomorrow for a 4 p.m. game. The Lady Bonackers will travel to Miller Place on Friday for a 4:30 p.m. game in a rematch of last year’s county semifinal, and will host Huntington on Wednesday at 5 p.m.