The Hampton Bays softball team was put to the test for the first time in League VIII this season, emerging with a 4-2 victory against Pierson in Sag Harbor on Friday.
The previous three wins for the Lady Baymen had all been cut short by the 12-run mercy rule, as they dominated Mercy 13-0, beat Center Moriches 14-2 and got past Southold/Greenport 12-0. Hampton Bays head coach John Maloney said he expected a good fight from the Lady Whalers, who have been a force in Suffolk County’s Class C in recent years. Players on both teams are familiar with each other as well, as many of them play together on local travel teams.
“They’re a great little team and they always put up a great fight,” Maloney said of Pierson. “We can’t take them lightly on any given day.”
After the first inning, it looked as though the Lady Baymen might cruise to another easy win, as they tallied three runs in that period, two of them earned. Hampton Bays scored runs in that inning on two fielder’s choice plays as well as an error. But the Pierson defense and pitcher Laura Stafford managed to hold the Lady Baymen to just one more run throughout the rest of the game while getting a few hits and taking advantage of several uncharacteristic Lady Baymen errors.
Hampton Bays senior pitcher Sami Krantz got her team out of a jam against two of Pierson’s best hitters in the final inning. With one out and runners on second and third, Krantz struck out Stafford and then got Sam Federico to ground out to second base. In both cases, she used her off-speed pitch—one of 10 in her repertoire—to send Stafford and Federico packing.
“Sami came up big,” Maloney said.
Krantz sat Stafford down with just three pitches and got two strikes on Federico before the ground out. Krantz finished with nine strikeouts and one walk while allowing no earned runs.
Pierson made its run in the final inning when sophomore Natalie Abbene singled to right. Her hit was followed by two Hampton Bays errors, which put the tying run on base.
“We wound up with five errors, which we haven’t done in the last seven games,” Maloney said. “We were disappointed with our overall performance but we were happy to get a win. I give credit to Pierson; they fought hard to the end and never gave up.”
Genna Kovar led Hampton Bays on offense, going 2 for 4 with two runs scored, while Krantz was 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI. Kenzie Maloney was 2 for 3 while Ali Hultberg was 1 for 3 with a run scored.
In a win against Southold/Greenport at home on April 8, Maloney provided the game-ender when she launched a grand-slam in the fifth inning, giving her team a 12-run lead. Maloney had six RBIs on the day to lead the Lady Baymen. Kovar was 3 for 3 with three runs and an RBI while Hultberg was 2 for 3 with three runs scored. Hultberg picked up the pitching win, allowing just one hit with six strikeouts and one walk.
Hampton Bays was scheduled to see some tougher competition earlier in the week when they took on Port Jefferson on April 15. The Lady Baymen will travel to face Bayport/Blue Point tomorrow in the first of several crossover games with League VII opponents. They will host West Babylon in a non-league game at 10 a.m. on Saturday and will host Elwood/John Glenn on April 22 at 2 p.m. before taking Southampton on the road the following day at 10 a.m. The Lady Baymen will host Class B rival Babylon on April 25 at 2 p.m.
“That’s always a big game,” Maloney said of Babylon. “We always get up for them and they always get up for us. It’s a lot of fun.”