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Sachem North softball off to good start
If the Sachem North softball team is going to end its postseason drought, the Flaming Arrows are going to have to take everything one at-bat at a time, make good contact, and not let the plays in the field affect their offense.
So says Sachem North coach Ken Sasso, who is looking to guide the Flaming Arrows into the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
“A lot of clichés in softball,” said Sasso, laughing. “Forget the errors and the strikeouts. Make it happen the next time.”
Despite dropping a 14-13, nine-inning affair to Lindenhurst on April 4, the Flaming Arrows (2-1) have made some noise this early in the season in League II.
Led by senior shortstop Chelsea Palma, Sachem North may lack experience, but Sasso is confident in his ballclub. Palma bats third and is the team’s “most dangerous hitter,” Sasso said, because she bats over .300 and leads the team in RBIs every year.
“We’re young, but we’ve got a good group,” said Sasso, who tapped Palma, senior catcher Jackie Rio and senior second baseman Kaitlyn Young as captains. “Everyone looks up to the seniors.”
During the Flaming Arrows’ 17-0 League II opening victory at Central Islip on March 25, the seniors were looking down, so to speak, at underclassman Rebecca Amadeo.
The freshman left-hander retired all 15 batters she faced.
“For being young, she has good game presence,” Sasso said of Amadeo, who pitched as an eighth-grader. “She’s not rattled by any situation. She has good movement on her pitches.”
Calling the screwball Amadeo’s best pitch, Sasso said his ace turned to another pitch to fool the Musketeer hitters.
“It was freezing cold, so she was throwing mostly fastballs,” Sasso said. “She moved them in and out.”
The error bug appeared for Sachem North in its come-from-behind, 7-6 home win against Northport. After trailing 3-0 in the top of the first, a few errors in the fourth led to a 6-1 deficit.
But it didn’t discourage anyone in the home team’s dugout, as Sasso and company chipped away at the lead before freshman first baseman Nicole O’Donnell delivered a bases-clearing double to the fence to tie it at 6.
“Unbelievably nuts,” said Sasso, in regards to the home team’s reaction. “[O’Donnell] had a couple of groundouts earlier with runners on bases, and in a real pressure situation, end of game, she comes up with the big, clutch hit. Smiles all-around.”
O’Donnell, who finished with four RBIs, enabled Rio to score on freshman centerfielder Julia Muratore’s RBI fielder’s choice.
If Sachem North is going to get to 10 wins for a postseason berth, Sasso believes the measuring stick will be used in its games at Bay Shore at 4 p.m. on April 9 and at home against Connetquot at 4:30 p.m. on April 11.
“The big challenge is, if we can play them tough, we know we got a good shot,” Sasso said. “I try to simplify the game. See it and make contact. I let them know the situation they’re in. They’re all good hitters.”