Lou Reale, East Hampton High’s softball coach, spent much of Saturday morning’s practice schooling his three new infielders in cutoff plays and the like.
They still need some work, as evidenced by a couple of errors committed on infield flies in the league opener at Westhampton Beach Monday, though, by and large, Reale said during a conversation Tuesday morning that he was quite pleased with his team’s performance. “We hit the ball really well, Casey [Waleko] had 11 strikeouts, and Sam Mathews hit a 280-foot shot in the top of the fifth that would have landed in our tennis courts if the game had been played here. They’ve got a 10-foot-high fence at Westhampton, just like at Terry King, and it’s 275 feet from home plate. The ball cleared the fence and hit a pickup truck in the parking lot.”
But the big star in the 8-3 win was Ellie Cassel, a sophomore up from the junior varsity, who bats fifth in the lineup. Cassel accounted for four of East Hampton’s runs with r.b.i. hits in the first, third, and seventh innings.
Kathryn Hess, the hard-hitting senior catcher, also went 3-for-4 at the plate, with a run driven in and three scored, and Mathews went 2-for-4 with the aforementioned solo home run.
East Hampton jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first. Dana Dragone led off with a single to right-center and stole second. Waleko’s fielder’s choice grounder advanced Dragone to hird, after which Deryn Hahn singled and moved on to second. Hess followed with a single that drove Dragone in, and, following a strikeout by Mathews, Cassel came through with a two-out, two-run double to left. Ilsa Brzezinski, the first baseman, struck out to end the inning.
Waleko struck out the side in the bottom of the first. In the top of the third, Hess singled and stole second. She moved up to third on a single by Mathews and scored on a base hit by Cassel, her third r.b.i. of the game.
The Bonackers made it 6-0 in the fourth. A slap single by Ceire Kenny, the second baseman, got it going. After Dragone had fouled out to third, Waleko tripled to drive in Kenny and subsequently scored on a passed ball.
Mathews’s aforementioned bomb led off East Hampton’s fifth for 7-0.
“We made a couple of errors on catchable fly balls in the bottom of the sixth,” Reale said. “The first batter Casey faced reached on an error by Casey. The second batter singled, putting runners at first and second. Casey then got a strikeout before walking the fourth hitter, which loaded the bases. The next one popped the ball up in the infield, a ball that either Casey, the first baseman, the second baseman, the third baseman, or the shortstop could have caught, but they let it drop. A run scored on that error, and then another scored when our shortstop, Ali Harned, and Deryn bumped into each other and fell down in going for another infield pop. That made it 7-2.”
Answering a question concerning infield flies, Reale said, “Whoever is deeper on the play has priority.”
East Hampton tacked on its eighth run in the top of the seventh. Hess singled and stole second and was doubled home by Cassel, her fourth r.b.i. of the day.
Westhampton scored its third and final run in the bottom of the seventh as “Ellie turned the wrong way on a long fly ball.”
Waleko struck out 11, as aforesaid, gave up 4 hits and 2 walks, and hit one batter.
East Hampton was to have played Rocky Point at home yesterday and is to play a nonleaguer with Pierson-Bridgehampton at Sag Harbor’s Mashashimuet Park Saturday at 10 a.m. A fund-raising spaghetti dinner is to be held at 5:30 that day at the American Legion Hall in Amagansett.
Reale and his assistant, Erin Abran, are to oversee a clinic for third through eighth graders and their coaches at the high school field on Sunday at 10 a.m. “In the last clinic we emphasized hitting, in this one we’ll work on fielding,” said the veteran coach.
The team will leave for spring training in Orlando, Fla., next Thursday.