It wasn’t pretty, but it was a victory nonetheless for the Pierson softball team.
After clobbering Southold/Greenport, 12-0, in their first League VIII game of the season on March 20, the Lady Whalers hung on for an 18-14 non-league victory at Miller Place (League VI) on Thursday, March 22.
At Miller Place, Pierson got off to a great start, albeit without any hits. Miller Place’s starting pitcher had a hard time throwing strikes, and the Lady Whalers drew a number of walks to jump out to a 6-0 lead after the top of the first.
Miller Place, though, showed its offensive prowess in the bottom portion of the inning and responded with three runs. Then, in the bottom of the third, the Lady Panthers tied the game at 6-6.
In the top of the fourth, with the bases loaded and no outs, Pierson got its first hit of the game when Bridget Canavan singled to left field to score two runs and make it an 8-6 game. The Lady Whalers scored two more runs in the inning to make it 10-6.
But in the bottom of the fourth, Miller Place came back and actually took a one-run lead at 11-10 thanks to a number of hits and defensive errors by Pierson. In the top of the fifth, and with Miller Place’s number one starting pitcher now in the game, Becca Spechenbach laced a line-drive single to right field with the bases loaded to drive in two runs, which gave the Lady Whalers a 12-11 lead that it would never relinquish.
By the end of the game, Pierson had scored 18 runs on 29 walks and just two hits.
“Happy with the W, always good to get the W. However, they did not play at all of what I expected of them,” Pierson head coach Melissa Edwards said of her players, following the game. “They are well aware of that. All of them knew they were going to get a chat after the game.
“We didn’t communicate well, we didn’t look ready. Our saving grace was the fact that their pitcher struggled,” she continued. “They definitely outhit us. We did have a few decent plays here and there but, overall, not very happy with our defense. They have a lot to work on. Granted [Miller Place] is a League VI team, they are bigger than us, play a much tougher schedule. But it should have been more of a game than an ugly game.”
Edwards said the difference between the Miller Place game and Southold/Greenport game, which Pierson won by a mercy rule, was that Southold/Greenport is an inferior team to Miller Place. Pierson starting pitcher Melanie Stafford had seven strikeouts against Southold and then Sammi Duchemin came in and pitched very well to preserve the shutout.
But against Miller Place, Pierson had to play a different style to what they’re accustomed to. “This was a different mentality of a game for us,” Edwards explained. “Instead of going out there and hacking at it and trying to manufacture runs, we had to play smart and let her walk us. It is a learning experience because there are going to be games where we’re going to have to be smarter ball players than athletic ball players.”
Edwards is happy that her team was able to start off the new season 2-0 overall, but she said she may have to find a way to get her players up on away games.
“Coming off that bus, we were not ready to go,” she said. “I think I’m going to have to start playing music on the bus trips so they stay up.”ON THE SCHEDULE: Tuesday, 3/27, vs. Stony Brook, 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday, 3/28, at Port Jefferson, 4:30 p.m.