For a team with no seniors and having lost two key juniors during preseason, the Scarsdale softball team got off to a strong start with a pair of wins before dropping two to even their record at 2-2.
The Raiders opened up the season with a 15-13 win at Horace Greeley on April 11. “It was nice to have a win in our first game,” junior captain Samantha Fenigstein said. “I feel like that definitely builds our confidence. We know we can win going into other games and that’s going to be really helpful.”
Freshman Emily Baron started the game. She let up one run in the first inning, but couldn’t get an out in the second. She came out after allowing five runs, one earned, and eight walks. Sophomore Charlotte Stebich pitched in relief and wasn’t able to get an out, letting up three runs, two earned, and three walks. It was the first time pitching varsity for both players.
“Hopefully they took away to get rid of the nerves,” coach Kevin Carrigan said. “They had both pitched in scrimmages and neither looked like they did today. They both pitched well in the scrimmages, limiting the walks, so I think today was a little bit of nerves and a little bit of basically one practice since March 30. So maybe we just have to get them back in the groove.”
Carrigan turned to junior catcher Ella Hayes to come in with no outs and runners on base in the second inning. She allowed one run of her own, but got out of the inning. She pitched the final six innings of the game, letting up five runs, three earned, six hits and two walks. The move ended up keeping the Raiders in the game enough to get the bats going to pull out a victory.
“She does anything we ask her out of necessity for our team,” Carrigan said. “She’s a middle infielder and we’re doing her a little bit of a disservice back there at catcher and I wish we could fix that, but we don’t have another catcher strong enough to do that in real tough games. And we needed her at pitcher today.”
Captain Hayes doesn’t have a ton of speed or movement, but she puts the ball near the plate.
“That’s the job, to throw strikes,” Hayes said. “Then our defense gets that practice to be able to make those plays. When you’re sitting there walk after walk it really takes the energy down a lot. Being able to have the ball in play and that movement really brings the energy up and allows us to make the plays we need to.”
Carrigan said he learned his lesson after not going to Hayes earlier in a game last year he felt the team could have won.
“I suffered through people who I wanted to develop as pitchers and they walked Ossining around the bases,” he said. “Ella kept looking at me today with that look of, ‘I’ll pitch, I’ll pitch, I’ll pitch.’ We know what we’re going to get from Ella — she’s going to throw strikes, she’s going to put the ball in play, but she’s willing to do anything we ask.”
Freshman Laura Chestnut, junior Emily Levine, junior Anna Henry, junior McKinley Conlon, sophomore Carly Kauffman, Fenigstein, Baron and Hayes are among the solid defenders on the team.
“We made the plays today,” Carrigan said. “I always give Ella a lot of credit for throwing the amount of strikes she does, but the way she throws them there’s going to be a lot of balls in play. If we can field the way we did today we’ll be in a lot of games. The one thing we have to do is be a little bit more aggressive than we were today. I think we had two fly balls that could have been caught, but we stopped on them. A play at shortstop where the runner got in our way and we didn’t realize we can go right through the runner because the runner can’t be in our way. But I think we’re going to make plays in most spots because I think we’re more athletic than in the past.”
Baron was 3 for 4 with a double, six RBIs and two runs; Fenigstein 1 for 3 with two walks, two RBIs and three runs; Hayes 3 for 4 with a double, an RBI and four runs; Anna Henry 3 for 4 with a double, an RBI and two runs; Kauffman 1 for 4 with a double, an RBI and a run; Chestnut 1 for 5 with an RBI; Levine two walks and a run; sophomore Jordan Kefer 1 for 2; Conlon 2 for 4 with an RBI and three runs.
“We were really rallying with the bats,” Hayes said. “We had a few rallies with two outs and I think that brings the energy up and gets us going. Then we play better in the field afterwards.”
Two days later the Raiders beat Mount Vernon 18-0 in five innings. Baron pitched the final two innings to get her first varsity win. She struck out four batters. Baron was 2 for 2 with two RBIs, Anna Henry 1 for 3 with four RBIs, Hayes 2 for 2.
Against Ossining on April 14, the Raiders lost 12-2. Barron started the game and went 2.1 innings, letting up seven runs, six walks and three hits. She kept up her hot hitting with a 2 for 3 day with a double, two runs and a stolen base. Anna Henry was 2 for 4 with an RBI and sophomore Shea McCarthy had her first varsity hit.
On April 18, the Raiders trailed Clarkstown North 12-0 in the first inning of what would be a 20-1 loss. Scarsdale struggled defensively with 13 errors.
Levine was 2 for 2, Baron 1 for 1, Hayes and Fenigstein 1 for 3, freshman Grace Henry and Conlon 1 for 2.
The Raiders were 6-14 last year and they’d like to at least move closer to .500.
“If we play well we have a chance to win at least more than we did last year,” Carrigan said. “There’s 14 games on the schedule I think we are in and that’s a lot more than I thought we’d be in last year. We do have some tough ones, but I think we’re going to hit more than last year. I hope to steal some we didn’t win last year.”
Fenigstein likes the energy she’s seeing from the underclassmen.
“It’s nice to have all the younger kids on the team,” she said. “I hope they see how exciting softball is and how much energy it takes and how much fun this sport is. I hope they realize we can be a great team together.”
Hayes also focused on keeping spirits high.
“We’re playing pretty different teams from last year, a lot more competitive games that I think we can compete in and probably come out with a win if we play really well,” Hayes said. “I think that will be better compared to playing some of the tougher teams last year. I think it will keep the energy up and we’ll be able to build off of close games and wins and learn from our losses.”
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