By Bill Landon
Comsewogue may have led Shoreham-Wading River 5-0 after the first inning, but the Wildcats came back blow the game open in the bottom of the fourth inning, en route to a 21-9 nonleague win Saturday afternoon.
The Warriors (4-2 in League V), fresh off their win over Westhampton Beach, didn’t have their ace pitcher Alexa Murray available to start the game, although she came in for relief, and spread pitching duties across three different hurlers.
Comsewogue junior Dominique Bailey drove in two runs, and Murray followed with a three-run homerun to jump out to a 5-0 lead to open the game.
“We trailed 5-0 after that first inning, but we’re a hitting team,” Shoreham senior Shelby Curtin said. “We all have the capability, so I told the girls we all have to hit the ball .It’s what we do — go out there and show them that we can hit the ball just as well as they do.”
Curtin homered over the centerfield fence, driving in freshman Joy Papagianopoulos to close the gap. Comsewogue scored twice more when sophomore Emily Whitman drove in two in the top of the third, to edge ahead 7-2.
Shoreham (2-3 in League VI) answered next when a crack of freshman Melissa Marchese’s bat drove the ball over the fence for a solo shot to help her team trail by four. Next, it was sophomore Katherine Opiela’s turn, and she ripped a shot deep to right field, plating Curtin and junior Lindsey McKenna to cut the Warriors’ lead to 7-5. Sophomore Victoria Coman kept the rally alive as she belted one through the infield, scoring Opiela, to make it a one-run game before the inning was over.
The Wildcats, with a stout defensive effort, retired the Warriors in order to begin the bottom of the fourth. The Wildcats had a marathon inning, lighting up the scoreboard with 11 runs, led by Marchese, who had three RBIs, followed by Curtin and sophomore Olivia Baudo, who had two RBIs apiece.
“They’re very good defensively — every time we hit the ball they caught it,” Comsewogue’s Murray said. “We’ll have to forget this game and get ready for John Glenn.”
Coman and Opiela also helped plate runners, as the Comsewogue pitcher walked in two runs with the bases loaded.
“It’s a long season with 20 games, so sometimes you have to lose a battle to win the war, and that war is the county championship,” Comsewogue head coach Jason Surdi said. “We were unwilling to use our No. 1 pitcher today because today’s game doesn’t count towards the playoffs, so we had to throw a couple of girls out there who typically don’t pitch.”
The Warriors trailed 17-7 to open the fifth inning, and pecked away at the deficit when Whitman’s bat cracked again, driving in junior Lauren Ehrhard and sophomore Julia Keller to make it an eight-run game.
“They can hit the ball, and they did that today,” Whitman said of Shoreham. “We’ll have to let this go.”
Shoreham’s Coman answered next with a RBI-single, bringing home Opiela, and was followed by Papagianopoulos, who took a pitch on a full count to draw the walk with the bases loaded, forcing in a run. Marchese had a busy day at the plate, and remained consistent when she jumped on a pitch for a deep shot to right field, plating Coman and freshman Kaitlyn McGiuney to break out to a 21-9 advantage.
Shoreham-Wading River head coach John King liked what he saw, and was especially pleased with his team’s performance at the plate.
“The girls did a nice job of hitting — we’re a very good hitting team,” King said. “They rested their starting pitcher, as we did, and sometimes the other teams are just on your pitcher, so we had to bring in our regular starting pitcher [Coman], and she did a nice job.”
Marchese triggered the mercy rule, so leading by 12 runs after five innings, her Wildcats were awarded the win.
“We played really well today, we kept it together, and it was a great team effort,” Marchese said. “We made a few errors, but we picked each other up. We can’t look at anyone’s record, we just have to come out and play as hard as we can.”
The Wildcats host Westhampton Beach on Monday at 4 p.m., and Bayport-Blue Point on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., before hitting the road on Thursday to take on Miller Place. Comsewogue faces Elwood-John Glenn at home on Monday with the first pitch scheduled for 4:30 p.m., before traveling to Rocky Point for a 4 p.m. game on Wednesday.