By Dylan Butler
The Bryant softball team saw two sides of senior pitcher Ally Stamatiades in the Owls’ first-place clash with Bayside Monday at Cunningham Park.
There was the Stamatiades of old, as the senior pitcher allowed four walks and a pair of wild pitches in the first three innings.
And then there was the new and improved Stamatiades, who struck out 10 and allowed just a pair of infield hits in the sixth inning to lead Bryant to a 3-1 win and sole possession of first place in Queens ‘A’.
“Last year I’d walk 12 or 13 a game,” Stamatiades said. “But this year I found the strike zone. All the pitching lessons and trying to get better worked.”
Bayside coach Steve Piorkowski immediately noticed the difference in the Bryant hurler, who was 6-10 with a 5.46 earned run average with 134 walks in 96.3 innings pitched last year.
“She did a phenomenal job. You could see she last year she had a very live arm,” said Piorkowski, whose team fell to 6-3, 3-1 in Queens A. “She didn’t throw strikes. The whole key was getting strikeouts … with control comes confidence.”
Of course it’s a lot easier to be confident with a three-run lead, and that’s exactly what Bryant (11-3, 4-0) gave Stamatiades with two out in the top of the fourth inning.
With runners at second and third, Sandy Tejada’s ground ball up the middle deflected off the glove of Bayside pitcher Kim Hattan and rolled slowly toward shortstop Allie Falco.
But before Falco could pick up the ball, Stamatiades — who was running from second base to third — collided with Falco, who was unable to make the play as the Owls jumped ahead, 1-0.
“Once [Hattan] touched it, it’s a free ball. I knew it went off the pitcher,” said Bryant coach Wally Hausdorf. “It looked like it would put a damper on the inning, but luckily the umpire made the right call.”
Freshman Melissa Pena followed with a bloop single to right field that drove home Stamatiades and Tejada as the Owls led 3-0.
Stamatiades retired the side in the fourth and fifth innings before having her no-hitter ruined by Annel Sanchez’s slow-rolling infield hit to lead off the sixth inning.
Sanchez, who made a sparkling diving catch in center and tossed to second to complete an inning-ending double play in the fifth inning, reached second on a throwing error by second baseman Allison Stupakevich.
Three batters later, Sapphire Edwards’ infield hit scored the speedy Sanchez, as Stamatiades lost out on her third shutout of the year.
“We played well, we deserved to win this game,” Stamatiades said. “We actually have a good vibe, a good chemistry this year.”
Franklin K. Lane 6, Grover Cleveland 5. Jaime Bellettini struck out 20 and allowed one unearned run, and Tasha Brignoni’s three-run double broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning for Lane (2-0 Queens II-B).
Robert F. Kennedy 13, Thomas Edison 3. Patricia Georgi went 2-for-2 with two walks, one RBI and three runs scored, and Brittany Purcell went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two strikeouts to get the win for RFK (2-1 Queens III-B).
Richmond Hill 13, Jamaica 1. Jaspreet Kaur (10 strikeouts) and Rachel Badooram had three RBIs each for Richmond Hill (3-0 Queens III-B).
Christ the King 25, St. Agnes 5. The Royals were led by Sandra Noer, who went 3-for-4, including a home run, while Nicole Francipanne kept the St. Agnes offense at bay, giving up only two hits through five innings. The win was the first league victory for CK, now 3-4 overall and 1-4 in league play.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.