NORTH SALEM, N.Y.— North Salem softball coach Bob Mittelstadt was concerned.
After two tough losses, the Tigers came out on Thursday, April 20, against visiting Irvington and fell behind 3-0 in the first inning.
The Tigers slowly came alive, scoring one run in each of the first three innings to tie it up at 3-3. Then they exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the fourth and pulled away for a 14-4 victory.
It was just what the doctor ordered for the Tigers after tough losses to Valhalla and Putnam Valley. Against Irvington, North Salem veterans Maggie Boardman and Alina DiMella made sure the Tigers were not going to let this one slip away despite the slow start.
“It was a bounce back game for us. We had played two tough games that did not go well, so we needed to get our confidence back and play better ball and after that first inning we did,” Mittelstadt said. “I had my doubts early on, thought we were still in a funk from the last two games, but the leaders of the team, Alina and Maggie, kind of rallied the troops and said enough already—let’s get this done.”
Unfortunately the momentum did not last long as North Salem then suffered a defeat on Saturday at home against Hastings. With that loss, the Tigers now stand at 4-3 overall.
In the win over Irvington, it was Lindsey McSweeney on the mound for the Tigers as she shut down the Bulldogs after the first inning.
DiMella came through with the big hit in the fourth-inning rally as she drilled a triple, but most of the damage was done by small ball as the Tigers batted around and scored seven runs.
“I give Lindsey a lot of credit. She stuck with it, took a line drive off her foot, didn’t have her best stuff, but kept working,” Mittelstadt said of McSweeney. “Between Lindsey and some good timely hitting everybody contributed and that’s what we need to do. The big inning was bunt, bunt, bunt. We’re going to put the bat on the ball and you field it. They didn’t and that kind of opened the floodgates, then we started hitting.”
In the fifth inning it was Boardman with the big hit as she tripled and then scored on an RBI single from Claire Bonzani.
The hits kept coming in the sixth inning as Boardman drove in two runs with a single and the Tigers closed out the victory.
“Maggie is a switch hitter. She can bunt and slash or regular hit,” Mittelstadt said. “Alina is playing really well and evolving defensively at shortstop. We have seven new defensive starters in seven new positions that have to be learned. It’s a big transition, kids learning on the fly how to play their position. The kids are playing hard, they play together and I’m very pleased with the overall effort. To be 4-2, I’ll take it, but I’d like better efforts against the better teams though.”
The Tigers played a better team on Saturday as they hosted Hastings and it was the Yellow Jackets who pulled away and handed North Salem a 7-3 defeat. It was close at the start with the teams tied up 1-1 heading into the third inning. Hastings scored one run in the third to take the lead and added two more in the fourth and three in the sixth to open up a 7-1 lead. The Tigers rallied with two runs in the bottom of the seventh, but it was too late as they suffered the defeat.
North Salem was hoping to bounce back again this week with four road games. The Tigers were set to travel to rival Pawling on Monday, then Woodlands on Wednesday, Haldane on Thursday, and finally a Saturday morning game at Carmel on April 29.