Umpires occasionally will ask Marissa Rizzi a question.
"They come up to me and they're like, 'Are those tattoos?' '' Rizzi said Wednesday after leading Eastport-South Manor to an 8-0 softball win over Centereach. "Everybody thinks they are tattoos.''
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They aren't. Rizzi wears a camouflage compression sleeve on her pitching arm to keep her muscles warm. But yes, from a distance, it looks like her arm is covered in tattoos.
As if someone with an overpowering fastball, deceptive off-speed pitches and an ERA that starts with zero needed to look any more intimidating.
Rizzi, a junior who verbally committed to St. John's, has allowed only two earned runs in six games this season. She tossed her third shutout, allowing six hits and two walks and striking out six, and said her defense had one of the best games she's seen it play.
"It's relaxing having her out there,'' said third baseman Jackie Chester, who went 2-for-4. "And if she lets one go over the plate, we always have her back.''
They had her back at the plate also, providing early run support. Brianna Williams singled in the first inning to drive in a run and load the bases. Nicole Shine doubled to centerfield to clear the bases and increase the lead to 4-0.
"If she threw a pitch first strike, I was swinging at it,'' said Shine, a sophomore in her first season on varsity. "I kept my head down and my timing was right on.''
Kailah Konkel and Chester added RBI singles in the fourth. Daniela Detore, celebrating her 17th birthday, then doubled to the wall to score two runs.
"I always try to produce,'' Detore said, "but on my birthday, it feels a little more special.''
Karly Sauve and Victoria Alonzo each went 2-for-3 for Centereach (2-3). With two on and none out in the second, Detore made a running catch on a fly ball to deep center. Rizzi then picked off the runner at third and struck out the next batter to help Eastport-South Manor (6-0) escape.
"We all want to make it to playoffs, to counties, to states,'' Rizzi said. "We have big goals and we have the motivation to make it there.''
And is she sure she doesn't wear that sleeve to intimidate batters?
"I don't try to be intimidating with my looks,'' she said. "I try to be intimidating with my pitches.''