By Bill Landon
The Ward Melville softball team raked in another win.
With a 2-1 victory over Half Hollow Hills East April 20, the Patriots are pushing for a new program-best record in over 10 years.
The team jumped out to a 5-0 start earlier in the season, tying its record from last year, but had hit a rough patch, with a five-game losing streak that ended with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Sachem North April 18.
Now, at 6-6, the team has eclipsed it’s win record from last year.
“Sachem, they’re a good team,” sophomore pitcher Kristina Maggiacomo said after the loss. “We could’ve come back and we could’ve won.”
That streak snap could’ve come sooner, but Ward Melville gave up two runs that were setup by three errors in the sixth inning.
Maggiacomo, the starting pitcher in both contests, was able to keep the Sachem hitters off-balance most of the way, with an effort from the mound that was well beyond her years.
“I don’t think age matters, but we’re getting better and better,” she said, adding that her curveball worked best.
She had another stellar performance in the win April 20. Maggiacomo struck out seven and walked none in the four-hit contest.
Katie Emig, the only senior on the squad, said the connection the Patriots have is what matters most.
“We’re all very close, and it’s about the team,” Emig said. “It’s all about how much effort you put into it — how much we try and the trust that we all have in each other.”
In the win over Hills East, Emily Bellow smacked an RBI-single in the bottom of the fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie. Bellow went 2-for-3 in the win.
“I came here three years ago, and I said we’re going to change the dynamic to have an expectation to win every game,” Ward Melville head coach Joseph Burger said. “When you’re changing a culture sometimes there are bumps and bruises along the way, but I’m proud of them — they’re coming along, they’re fighting and they battled hard.”
For Burger, that mentality and culture is changing, and is evident with the new program record.
“This is a talented group,” He said. “The most important thing to do is to keep their heads up high, look at the positive things they’re doing. This team hasn’t been in this position for 10 plus years, so we’ve just got to keep pushing.”