Annie Kennedy, last year’s player of the year among the softball players in League IV, and a University of Maine recruit, pretty much single-handedly handled East Hampton High School’s team here on April 1, on the mound and at the plate.
The final score was Rocky Point 9, East Hampton 0 as Kennedy drove in several of those runs, with an 0-2 double to the fence in the first inning and with a full count two-run double off the fence in the visitors’ four-run fifth.
Pitching-wise, Kennedy, who didn’t walk a batter, struck out 13 and gave up 6 hits, all singles.
“She got Dylan [Scheider], our leadoff hitter, on a pop back to her in our first at-bat, and then proceeded to strike out the next seven hitters in a row, six of them on called third strikes,” said East Hampton’s coach, Lou Reale.
Kennedy’s opposite number, Casey Waleko, gave up 10 hits that day, walked 4, and struck out 11. “Offensively, we didn’t do anything,” said Reale. “Their girl controlled the game.”
The good news is that Ali Harned, a senior who suffered a concussion during the basketball season and is now wearing contact lenses, was to have resumed playing this week at her accustomed shortstop position. Her return, said Reale, “definitely will help . . . it ought to strengthen the left side of the infield and give us another bat in the lineup.”
For Friday’s game at Mount Sinai, however, Scheider, who’s one of a number of ninth graders on the squad, was to have continued playing short, and Avery Balnis, another ninth grader, who’s been at second, was to have replaced a fellow freshman, Sophia Foglia, at third, and Francesca De Nardo, yet another freshman, was to have played second. Reale said during a conversation Friday morning that when Harned returns, Scheider will be moved to third, and Balnis, who got a hit in the Rocky Point game, will go back to second.
It’s a learning year for the very young Bonackers, but perhaps the called third strikes bother Reale the most. “The way Kennedy was pitching, you were pretty certain that when the count went to 2-2 or 3-2 that she wouldn’t walk you. Still, we let those third strikes go by — we just froze up.”
In last Thursday’s practice, Reale had those players who’d looked at called third strikes in the Rocky Point game walk to the end of the line when they came up to the batting tee the others were hitting off of to underline his contention that they might as well not have batted at all.
Rocky Point scored one run in the first, one in the third (the result of a hit batsman, a walk, and a run-scoring single), four, as aforesaid, in the fifth (the big blows being Kennedy’s double off the fence and a home run), one in the sixth, and two in the seventh.
“We didn’t get a hit until the fourth,” said Reale. “We threatened in the fifth, loading the bases on singles by Avery and Rachel Kalafut, our designated hitter, and an error, but the next two batters looked at called third strikes.”
Kennedy’s presence alone made Rocky Point a league title contender, Reale said, “but it’s not only her — they’ve got some pretty good hitters.”
Islip, which has a win over Rocky Point, is to play here today, and Shoreham-Wading River, which lost its pitcher, catcher, and shortstop to graduation, was to have played here yesterday.