SOMERS, N.Y.— Although it fell 3-2 in its home opener against defending Class B section champion Pawling on April 10, Somers already looks like the competitive softball team it wants to be this season.
“It’s a building block and a stepping stone for our girls,” Somers coach Dave Scagnelli said. “To have a 3-2 game against a quality team is a real softball game. I would rather have 19 games like that than to beat a team 15-0.”
The Tuskers got a spark in the bottom of the seventh when sophomore third baseman Nikki Fiorino reached first base on a bunt to Pawling pitcher Olivia Zoeller.
After senior right fielder Brittney Morel struck out by bunting foul, Fiorino stole second on the first pitch to sophomore Amanda Polito.
Polito eventually sacrificed Fiorino over to third, laying a bunt down the right foul line before sophomore center fielder Jazmyn Colon kept the bunt party going.
The problem was that Zoeller’s throw was on-target and a step ahead of Colon to first as Somers suffered its first loss of 2017.
“This was our first time seeing a very good pitcher with good movement,” star sophomore catcher Gabby Mazzotta said. “By seeing her we will get better and be prepared for the upcoming teams.”
Mazzotta dunked a two-out single into right field to score Karly Moscarello and put the Tuskers ahead, 1-0, in the first inning.
The Tigers responded with a sacrifice fly the next inning before the pitcher’s duel began.
Somers’ workhorse pitcher in Tori Pagliaro threw all seven innings and fanned five batters. But the sophomore allowed Pawling to take the lead in the fourth off a wild pitch in the dirt.
Knotting it back up in the most unique of ways in the bottom half of the same inning, senior second baseman Julia Sciacca was instructed by Scagnelli to put herself in a pickle between home and third base.
Attracted immediately by the bait, Zoeller fired over to third and initiated the rundown. Pawling’s third baseman dropped the ball on a toss from the catcher while Sciacca raced home.
The fifth inning sealed Somers’ fate when Pagliaro walked in the go-ahead run before notching a strikeout to limit the damage.
On the bright side, Colon and Morel made sparkling plays in the outfield to maintain the deficit late in the game. Morel webbed a screaming line-drive to right in the fifth and Colon tracked down a deep fly-ball smashed to dead center in the seventh.
“Tori pitched phenomenally,” Scagnelli said. “Defensively, we made almost every play. The outfielders made exceptional plays by taking away singles and doubles and by cutting down runners. For the second game of the season, we are a lot further along than I thought we would be.”
It was only Moscarello and Mazzotta who recorded hits other than bunts on the defensive day. The captain Mazzotta went 2 for 3 with the lone RBI. Moscarello whacked a triple to right in the third, singled in the fifth and also walked.
On opening day last week, the Tuskers stomped out to an early 3-0 lead and held on to knock off host Byram Hills, 6-4, on April 3.
Pagliaro threw another complete game and cracked an RBI single while going 2 for 4 at the plate. Mazzotta had an RBI double.
Most importantly it was a game of balance and exploitation of the Bobcats’ errors. Junior Jill Carlisto, sophomore Sabrina Balfe, junior Kelsey Lavin, and Moscarello each penciled hits.
Another challenging opponent in the Brewster Bears visited the Tuskers (1-1) on Wednesday afternoon and they will seek revenge at Pawling again on Monday, April 17, at 4:30 p.m.
“Everybody at practice is always putting so much effort into it,” Pagliaro said. “It’s really showing in the games. One of the best feelings is going out there and seeing your hard work pay off.”