The cold weather during early season softball sometimes hampers the ability of batters and pitchers to stay loose and play effectively.
In Dobbs Ferry’s 6-1 win over Rye Neck, both starting pitchers endured the elements well enough to combine for 27 strikeouts, but the Eagles wound up on top as their batters capitalized on four Panther errors and scratched out five unearned runs.
“It’s tough being in the shade, it’s tough going out there on the field,” Dobbs Ferry coach Neil Abbatiello said. “Both teams have to play on the field and that’s just the way it is. I’m proud of my team even though we did not hit well.”
Dobbs Ferry broke a 1-1 tie in the third inning when Bronwyn Bingham scored from second on an outfield error and Alison Abbatiello later scored on an infield throwing error, giving the Eagles a 3-1 lead.
“That (third inning) was huge because the game was close and we needed to break it open,” Dobbs Ferry senior Andrea Abbatiello said.
Andrea Abbatiello struck out 13 batters in hurling a two-hitter, allowing just an RBI triple by Diana King.
Facing a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the sixth, Abbatiello responded by striking out Jackie DeCicco and Shannon Liguori.
“To get myself out (of the jam), I focused on strikes,” Abbatiello said. “It’s one of my first times out against a live team. We did have some scrimmages but I needed to get my bearings.”
Dobbs Ferry is experiencing the challenge of replacing Jess Calvini, who graduated as the school’s all-time leader in wins (73), strikeouts (852), shutouts (35), ERA (0.98), and innings pitched (628).
“Last year, Jess pitched most of the games,” Rye Neck coach Joan Spedafino said. “Now, (Diana) is taking more of that role. She has to adjust. There were times (in the game) where she was dominating and there are times where the fielding … she had people ground out but we didn’t make the play. She’s doing her job.”
Now playing for Lehigh, Calvini completed 93 of 94 starts and held opposing hitters to a .168 batting average.
King, who will shoulder Rye Neck’s pitching load this year, struck out 14 and allowed six hits and one earned run.
“It’s great experience and I get to see different hitters and see different situations,” King said. “It helps me grow as a pitcher. I’m also just a sophomore but I hope to be just as good as Jess one day.”