Inexperienced Construction feeling early growing pains

By Joseph Staszewski

The Red Hawks are green.

The Construction softball team showed both its youth and its promise in an 8-3 loss to league power Tottenville in a PSAL Class A crossover game March 30 at Smokey Oval. The Red Hawks, which start four freshmen or sophomores, dug itself into a 7-0 hole through four innings after allowing three unearned runs in the top of the first.

“The youth, it is going to happen,” sad Red Hawks coach Marco Migliaccio. “There are going to be growing pains.”

Despite the rocky start, Construction never let the game truly get away from it, thanks to the pitching of freshman Claudia Migliaccio, the coach’s daughter. She moved the ball around the zone, allowed just five hits, walked four and struck out four. Her lone big mistake, throwing to freshman catcher Jesssica Giardello, was a change-up that Danielle McGuire drove in for a two-run homer in the second inning.

“I compliment her,” said start junior shortstop Lizul Portugal. “She did her thing.”

Construction, which collected seven hits, missed a chance to put some pressure back on the Pirates in the bottom of the third, when it left the bases loaded with one out and the middle of the order up.

The Red Hawks would get on the board in the fifth after they made some adjustments at the plate. Melissa Dharampaul, who walked, scored on an error, and junior shortstop Lizul Portugal drove in a two-run double to right field to pull her team to within a 7-3 margin. She feels it is imperative for her to produce until the team’s younger players grow more comfortable.

“I feel like I have to lead by example,” Portugal said. “If I can do something and help out my team, I’m trying to be a team player.”

Senior second baseman Courtney Semper returns along with classmate Caitlin Vernon at first and Sharon Amaya-Valencia. Junior Emily Hodgson takes over in centerfield.

The team itself, which lost in the quarterfinals last year, is trying to live up to the success the program has had in recent years, winning a city title in 2013. It will need to clean up its play in the field for that to happen. Marco Migliaccio said he has streamlined his practices in order to focus on fundamentals.

“It’s a fine line between frustration and something else because you know [the talent] is there,” Migliaccio said. “It’s just a matter of it coming out. We have every aspect of a softball team we could need.”

Part of that means believing they can compete with the other top programs, and its game with Tottenville was a step toward that. The players know reaching that point will meaning remaining upbeat through out the growing pains. The team is a loose bunch and was still chanting for each other in the dugout late in game against Tottenville.

“We all know we’ve got the potential to do something great,” Claudia Migliaccio said. “I guess we just have to try to go with that.”

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