Some had hand warmers in their uniform pants, others wore sweatshirts and jackets while out in the field. But not Sam Venus. She wore her Mineola tank top jersey, arms fully exposed on a cold and breezy but sunny day.
"Sun's out, guns out," she said.
For her long-sleeved teammate, freshman pitcher Emily Skupp, it was more like:
"Lights out, strikes out."
As cold as it was, Skupp still brought the heat, and as cold as Venus may have been, she still showed off those guns of hers in more ways than one during Mineola's 5-0 win over host South Side Saturday in Conference A-II.
Skupp, coming off an all-county season as an eighth-grader, tossed a complete game, allowing four hits with 13 strikeouts. She went 3-for-4 at the plate, including a solo home run to the gap in right-center field in the seventh.
"The cold makes your hand a little numb so it's harder to spin the ball," said Skupp, who relied on her overpowering fastball. "You never want to be out in the cold long so you try to make the game go faster."
It looked like the game was destined for extra innings until the "Gun Show" started. After consecutive bunt singles by Molly Donellan and Valerie Fischer loaded the bases in the top of the sixth, Venus muscled a triple to deep right to bring everyone home and give Mineola a 3-0 lead. She came around to score on a single by Addie McKeever to tack on another run.
"I saw the ball and I made it sail," Venus said.
South Side's Sam Maselli had 14 strikeouts, including the first nine batters of the game, and walked none. The Cyclones (0-2) threatened in the sixth after singles by Lia Stamile, who went 2-for-3, and Lauren Hochhauser, but Skupp struck out the next two batters to end the inning for Mineola (2-1).
"She has us on her back," Mineola coach Anthony Tramonte said of Skupp. "With her last year we made the playoffs for the first time in a long time. She's as good as it gets."
Skupp's in, batters out.