By Bill Landon
Smithtown West protected a one-run lead until the sixth inning, when Brentwood scored three runs on a single play to take the lead, and scored an insurance run in the top of the seventh to notch the 4-1 nonleague softball win Monday afternoon.
The bats cracked on both sides, but each team left several runners on base, leaving the game scoreless through three and a half innings.
Brentwood threatened with runners on the corners with one out in the top of the fourth, and tried to steal second base, but Smithtown West junior catcher Kaitlyn Loffman fired a shot to eighth-grader Sarah Chapman, who cleanly tagged the runner for the second out of the inning.
“They’re in League I, but I thought we could’ve done more to help out the defense,” Loffman said. “On offense, we just have to pick better pitches to swing at.”
Brentwood stranded the lone runner and the Bulls went to work in the bottom of the fourth.
Smithtown West junior first baseman Kiley Magee’s bat cracked next as she found the gap for a lead-off single. Loffman, equally as dangerous in the batters’ box, ripped one deep down the left sideline that went to the fence, plating Magee as Loffman made it to third standing up. Unable to bring Loffman home, Smithtown West had to settle for a 1-0 lead to open the fifth inning.
“They’re pretty good, but I thought we could’ve played better,” Magee said. “We’ll work on playing better defense.”
Neither team could find the plate in the fifth, but the tables turned in the sixth inning as Brentwood’s first at batter drew a walk. The next, the go-ahead run, was hit by a pitch and took first base with two outs. The Indians followed with a base-clearing, stand-up double on an error for a 3-1 advantage.
With their backs against the wall, the Bulls threatened in the bottom of the inning when Loffman smacked a lead-off single, and was followed by junior pitcher Maria Caviris, who drove one into shallow left field for a base hit that represented the tying run at first. Smithtown squandered the opportunity though, leaving both runners on base to end the inning.
“We haven’t played them for a long time, but I know some of the players, so I had an idea [of how well they can hit],” Caviris said, adding that she thought she could’ve pitched better.
Although Smithtown was finished scoring, Brentwood was not, and an insurance run in the top of the seventh sealed the team’s fate.
“Years ago we faced them when we were one school, and played them regularly in League I,” Smithtown West head coach Dave Miller said. “This years’ schedule calls for mandatory nonleague games and that’s this game against them. We made way too many base-running mistakes in this game, missed signs and you can’t help the base hits on the other team,” he said. “Maria [Caviris] pitched well, but when you can’t pitch your way out of a two-out, nobody on, and walk, hit a batter, [and give up a] double — that hurt us.”
Smithtown West dropped to 2-6 League III and 5-6 overall, with nine games to play. The Bulls travel to take on Central Islip next, on April 27 at 11 a.m., and host West Babylon on April 28 at 11 a.m., in nonleague games.