With Five Absent Softball Loses to Westhampton Beach

Bageled 9-0
Sam Merritt kept coming at Westhampton Beach’s sluggers, who touched her for a home run, a triple, and two doubles in Monday’s 9-0 loss here. Craig Macnaughton

The good news insofar as East Hampton High School’s softball team went this past week was Friday’s 7-2 win at Southampton, its second win of the season vis-a-vis four losses. That is, until Monday, when the girls, with five teammates on vacation, three of them starters, were bageled 9-0 here by Westhampton Beach.

The middle of the Hurricanes’ lineup basically teed off on Sam Merritt, Bonac’s hard-throwing pitcher, but four, maybe five of the visitors’ runs were owing to relay miscues. The ball always seemed to arrive a step too late, or, as in the case of the disastrous top of the sixth, way wide of the plate. That particular miscue allowed two runs to come home on a line drive to center field.

“We’ve got to work on that,” Kathy Amicucci, East Hampton’s coach, said when the non-heads-up plays were mentioned.

Merritt, who kept coming at Westhampton’s batters, struck out the side in the second inning, and added four other strikeouts along the way. The visitors jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, after which Merritt gave up 10 hits — six singles, a triple, two doubles, and a home run in the top of the fifth by the number-three hitter, Brooke Walker.

Westhampton’s coach said, in walking off the field, that his team led the county in home runs. 

The Hurricanes’ pitcher, Jess Ferrick, had a no-hitter going until the fifth, which Maddie Schenck, the number-four hitter, led off with a hard-hit single down the third-base line. 

With Merritt up, Schenck tried an ill-advised steal of second and was thrown out in plenty of time. Which was too bad, for Merritt then drew a walk, and Sophia Swanson, playing shortstop that day in place of her sister, Bella, who was one of the ones on vacation, followed with a base hit over third, putting runners at first and second for Sophia Ledda. Ferrick struck out Ledda on three straight pitches and got Fran DeNaro to bounce back to her to end the inning.

The visitors padded their 5-0 lead with four runs in the top of the sixth. The first batter grounded to Erin Decker at first base. Decker, by the way, had been brought up from the junior varsity for the day to replace Ella Gurney, who was on vacation. The next hitter singled on an 0-2 pitch, after which the floodgates opened, beginning with the aforementioned line drive to center that yielded the wide-of-the-mark relay that allowed two runs to come in. A hard-hit r.b.i. single followed, for 8-0, after which a late throw home from right field let the ninth run in.

Decker led off the bottom half of the sixth with a single. Zoe Daunt, playing third that day for Sophia Foglia, who was on vacation, fouled out to the catcher, Raven Biondo popped out to Ferrick, and Rebecca Kuperschmid, who hits third in the lineup, popped out to short. 

The Bonackers went down one-two-three in their last at-bat, with Schenck and Merritt flying out to center field and with Swanson popping out to short.

The win improved Westhampton to 6-1 in league play. Shoreham-Wading River led the loop as of Monday at 7-0, “but we have yet to play them,” Westhampton’s coach said. 

East Hampton, which was in third place among League IX’s five teams going into Monday’s game, dropped to 2-5, behind Shoreham and Westhampton but ahead of Southampton (2-6) and Hampton Bays (1-4). 

The Bonackers, who presumably will be at full strength, are to play at Hampton Bays Saturday morning at 11.