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Battle of the Fehrenbachs: Father vs. daughter
Dinner at the Fehrenbach house may have been a little awkward on Thursday night.
Earlier that day, father and daughter became three-hitter and the opposing manager trying to get her out. Daddy’s little girl came out victorious as Kayla Fehrenbach helped lead the Bethpage softball team to a 9-4 win over MacArthur, which is coached by her father Bobby Fehrenbach.
The two have played against one another in scrimmages over the years, but this was the first time the game actually counted in the standings. However, it was non-league, and both teams get automatic bids into the postseason for having played in Conference I of their respective classes. So the only thing on the line was Fehrenbach family bragging rights.
“It was a good feeling to win for once since he always beat us in scrimmages,” Kayla said. “I was looking forward to playing him. It’s probably for the last time.”
Prior to Kayla’s first at-bat, she took a few cuts right in front of MacArthur’s dugout and the two exchanged a head nod. But the pleasantries ended there. The senior centerfielder proceeded to go 2-for-4 with an RBI and made a series of running catches to help preserve the win over the Generals, who are the defending Class AA Long Island champions.
“I win either way and I lose either way,” said Bobby. “She gets a hit, I’m happy for my kid. We get her out, I’m happy for my team.”
Since father knows best, who better to ask for a scouting report on Kayla than Bobby?
"She’s not a power hitter but with the quick wrists she can really hit a ball hard,” she said. “She’s a line drive hitter, very good base runner, very instinctive. As an outfielder, just gets a really good jump on the ball and can cover a lot of ground out there.”
Bobby also coached Kayla and many of her Bethpage teammates while they were growing up and playing Little League. Being so familiar with his daughter’s tendencies, Bobby was asked if he attacked her weaknesses at the plate during Thursday's game.
“You treat every batter the same,” he said. “I know what she can do as a batter. You want your kid to be successful but you also want your team to do well. So you’re torn two different ways.”
Kayla is the leading hitter on a veteran Bethpage that is hoping to do some postseason damage in a wide open Class A. They have two pitchers that complement one another very well in Kayla Hatki, the power pitcher, and Kate Dorney, the finesse pitcher.
They also have eight seniors on the roster, including third baseman Cathleen Cassese, who has the second highest batting average on the team and as Bethpage coach Anne DiPrima says, “gobbles up everything hit her way.” She is joined by catcher Jess Lewis, who calls her own game and understands the tendencies of both of her pitchers, and first baseman Monica Oury, who can hit with power in the five-hole.
But on Thursday, it was all about the Battle of the Fehrenbachs.
"It was just weird seeing him on the other side instead of being in the same dugout as me,” Kayla said.
And was dinner awkward later that night?
“Nah, she didn’t even eat at home,” Bobby said. “She was out with some friends. Tomorrow is their senior day so I don’t know what they’re doing…maybe toilet papering a house or something.”
Spoken like a concerned father.