Last season, the East Hampton softball team had to fight tooth and nail to get past Class A and League VI rival Miller Place for a spot in the county final. The Lady Bonackers finally eked out a 1-0 victory in 10 innings over the tough team, marking the third time in the season the teams played in a one-run game, with East Hampton winning them all.
This year has started off a bit differently, as the Lady Bonackers enjoyed a more comfortable margin of victory in the two teams’ first meeting on Friday in Miller Place, winning 4-1.
Senior ace Jessie Stavola led East Hampton with another solid outing on the mound, allowing just two hits with 16 strikeouts and no walks and pushing her team to a 5-0 record in League VI, 6-0 overall.
The Lady Bonackers also had a good day at the plate against Miller Place’s Jaclyn Doolin, one of the more experienced pitchers in the league. East Hampton recorded 11 hits, led by Kristina Schwehr, who was 2 for 3 with an RBI, and Kelsey Bodziner and Megan Hess, who both recorded RBIs.
“That was a big game for us,” East Hampton head coach Lou Reale said. “Jessie did a good job and we hit the ball well.”
One area that Reale was not pleased with was his team’s defensive play. East Hampton recorded three errors for the second straight game.
“That’s really not good,” Reale said. “Especially when Jessie is striking out 16 batters, you’ve got to be able to make the outs when they do hit the ball.”
A day earlier, East Hampton didn’t play its best softball but still came away with a 4-1 win at Westhampton Beach. In that game, a trio of errors upset Reale as well as subpar performance at the plate. The Lady Bonacker batters struck out 13 times against Alyssa Clancy and went down looking on seven of those strikeouts.
“That’s unacceptable; it’s way too many,” Reale said, referring to the non-swinging strikeouts. “If you don’t swing, you don’t have a chance. We played sloppy and it wasn’t a very good game.”
Melissa Anderson highlighted the game by blasting a home run over the outfield fence, while Hess was 3 for 4. Stavola allowed just three hits and struck out seven batters while issuing one walk. The Lady Hurricanes attempted to bunt on a majority of their at-bats and on several occasions, Stavola made impressive fielding plays to get the out.
In a 12-3 win at home against Harborfields on April 9, several young Lady Bonackers got a chance to show their stuff. Sophomore Shannon Anderson got the pitching start and went six innings, allowing eight hits with four strikeouts before classmate Danielle Waleko came on in relief.
Considering Harborfields one of the weaker teams in League VI, Reale chose to give Stavola the day off from pitching and start Anderson. Standing in as the designated hitter, Stavola went 3 for 4 with an RBI. Melissa Anderson was 2 for 3 and Hess was 2 for 2 with a double and an RBI.
East Hampton was scheduled to face two middle-of-the-pack League VI teams this week, hosting Huntington yesterday and visiting Comsewogue today at 4:30 p.m. The Lady Bonackers will play in Sag Harbor at 11 a.m. on Saturday against Pierson, one of the better teams in League VIII.
Things will get tougher next ?week, when the Lady Bonackers square off against three potential playoff teams. They’ll host Sayville on April ?21 at 4:30 p.m., visit Eastport South Manor on April 23 at the same time and host Kings Park the following ?day at the same time. After that, the team will head up to Binghamton, New York to play in an invitational against some of the top squads in the northeast.
East Hampton will face Pennsbury, a Pennsylvania powerhouse, and St. Anne’s, one of the best teams in ?New Jersey. Reale is hopeful that the tough competition along with the experience of traveling back to the site of last year’s and this year’s state softball championships will be good for his team.
He is also hoping that it won’t be the only trip they’ll be making upstate this spring.