Alannah Basile is coming off a dominant sophomore season in which she overpowered batters, won multiple awards and led Island Trees to the county championship series. But still, she felt the need to change things up.
So that's just what she's doing, literally and figuratively . . . by throwing a changeup.
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"If you keep throwing fastballs, they're eventually going to catch up to it," she said. "It's a good idea to throw them off balance a little bit."
But the more her pitches changed, the more her results stayed the same as Basile struck out 11 in a 5-0 shutout over host Plainedge Tuesday in a rematch of last season's county Class A championship.
Basile, who also went 2-for-3 with a triple and two runs scored, mixed the change of pace pitch into an arsenal that is already six pitches deep. She allowed six hits and walked two to help Island Trees (1-0) win its Conference A-I opener.
Another change that paid off for Island Trees was moving Ashley Melendez from the bottom of the order to the three-hole this season. The sophomore first baseman blasted a solo home run to dead centerfield to break a scoreless tie in the top of the fourth inning.
"It was right over the plate and I felt it right off the bat," she said. "Batting third is a very big responsibility. You have to get those big hits. It feels good to have people depending on you."
Morgan Petry went 2-for-3, including an RBI single up the middle later in the fourth. Sam Petry increased the lead in the sixth by driving in a run on a fielder's choice. Shamar Sanchez, who went 2-for-4, followed with a two-run single to make it 5-0. Tori Tedeschi added a pair of singles.
Nicole Francisco struck out three and Taylor Curran went 2-for-3 for Plainedge (0-1), which swept the best-of-three county championship series last season.
"Plainedge is always a hard game for us, so I think this gives us confidence knowing that we beat them," Basile said. "Losing to them last year gives us more motivation to get back there and win it this time."
In other words, she wants to change up the ending.