It was a solid start for the Clarke Softball Team, as they were able to cruise to an 8-1 win against visiting Mineola on Saturday afternoon.
Sarah Cornell and Emily Skupp, eighth graders both, will meet again for the next four years for Clarke and Mineola, respectively.
Earlier in the year the two pitchers for their respective squads had faced each other in a scrimmage match with Skupp’s Lady Mustangs taking that initial meeting. It seemed only proper that the two should meet again in the first round of the Class A playoffs Saturday at the backfield at .
“We knew that we were going to have to work hard to beat them,” Clarke head coach Chrissy DeMott said. “It definitely wasn’t a given. We basically always make it through the second round. This is a huge win, Mineola is a great team. They have a great infield, some pretty good hitters.”
Those hitters for Mineola, while managing to put runners on base every inning – including the game’s leadoff runners on second and third with no outs – consistently failed to get the big hit to drive them in.
“We just weren’t getting timely hits and we had runners on base every inning and we just weren’t able to get the big hit,” Mineola head coach Anthony Tramonte said.
For that you can blame Cornell.
“She has the ability to really turn it up when she needs to and she knows that if she’s putting runners on base, she needs to come back and strikeout the next batter,” DeMott said. “And she’s able to get the big out when it counts.”
Those outs included 15 strikeouts, only giving up a solo homerun to Mineola third baseman Christina Palmenteri in the third.
Clarke meanwhile, would get the timely hits and the big hits as well as shortstop Alyssa Colletti and thirdbaseman Danielle Ferrara both hit shots over the fence – both solo shots – but each starting innings in which the Lady Rams scored three runs in the frame.
“(She’s) been coming up big for us all season,” DeMott said of Ferrara, who was 3-for-3 with a walk. “The nice thing about her is that she really is a contact hitter, she doesn’t try to put the ball over the fence, she’s just looking for something good to hit and she puts the ball in play which is really helpful for us.”
Clarke was also helped in the fifth by a pair of costly Mineola errors at first and in leftfield, allowing two runs. While the Lady Mustangs were below their season-high in mistakes, during the regular season they typically had the strength in the batter’s box to overcome their gaffes.
“We take a couple of those errors back, it’s a 3-1 game until the fifth and a couple errors here and there, it opens up the game,” Tramonte said. “You have a pitcher like (Cornell), you have to play mistake-free ball because it will kill you. You got a pitcher throwing that hard, throwing strikes like she was, it’s a little difficult to give them extra outs and you see what happens.”
Skupp, who has been battling her share of , would give up 6 earned runs over the course of the game.
“We hung in tough. Emily’s been going through adversity all year. I felt that she hung in, she did a great job,” Tramonte said. “I feel like next year our team’s going to be better, we’re going to be stronger.”
Were you at the game? What did you think of the way Clarke played? Tell us in the comments.