By Robert Cole
With weather wreaking havoc on this year’s softball season, Saturday’s great spring weather enabled the St. Francis Prep softball team to get out and work off their rust against Cardinal Spellman in the Bronx.
“It’s been hard to get into a routine, it’s been kind of hard to get into a rhythm,” coach Ann Marie Rich said regarding the weather.
But the warm, sunny skies provided the perfect environment for St. Francis Prep to rally to pull off an exciting comeback against Cardinal Spellman, scoring six runs in the final inning to secure a 10-4 victory April 14.
“Playing [Saturday] was great. The weather was beautiful,” Rich said. “We were having trouble with being consistent getting on base, getting hits and moving runners around, but [Saturday] we seemed to do it well, especially latter in the game.”
Prep got off to a fast start when catcher Madison Reichert launched a double to lead off the game. She moved to third after a sacrifice bunt from Alyssa Wilkinson and scored later in the inning on double by shortstop Sarah Williams. Williams would score on Megan Vicari’s double to give Prep a 2-0 lead.
Spellman responded in the bottom half of the inning, tagging Prep pitcher Jennifer Bernstein with four runs on four hits and a walk to take a 4-2 advantage into the second.
Prep tied the game in the top of the second with a two-out rally. Elizabeth Rocco worked a walk and stole second base, which enabled her to score on Reichert’s double. Spellman’s defense made a couple of errors, which allowed Reichert to score, tying the game at 4-4.
Daniella Connor relieved Bernstein on the mound in the second inning and managed to keep Spellman’s offense off the board, thanks to stellar defense from Reichert, who threw out Spellman’s Christine Whalen attempting to steal second base.
Rich complemented the play of her catcher, who helped keep momentum in Prep’s favor.
“Madison is an awesome catcher,” she said. “She is amazing behind the plate. I have utmost confidence in her behind the plate. She calls a great game, she has a great personality with the pitchers, and she is one of our captains. She’s our go-to girl.”
The battery of Connor and Reichert kept the Spellman offense at bay, shutting them out after the first inning. Prep’s defense also provided a boost, playing six strong innings behind Connor.
The Terriers appeared to feed off their aggressive defensive attitude to inspire their offense in the seventh inning. Reichert came up big again, recording a one out single to start a rally. She scored the go-ahead run on Williams’ two-run double, which gave Prep a 6-4 advantage. The Terriers scored four more runs in the inning, taking a 10-4 lead that proved to be the final score.
Rich was pleased with her team’s effort and believes this could be the start of a strong run for Prep.
“I want the team to be consistent, I want them to play well together, I want them to be able to get into a routine, I want them to be aggressive, I want them to want to get those hits, and I want the pitcher to do well,” she said. “There are a lot of things I want, but as long as we work together, we will have great success.”