You have to pay attention when you're on third base and Leah Mele is at bat. The talented pull hitter from Longwood can make baserunners fidgety over there.
After ripping a few foul balls down the line, Mele straightened out a two-run double to leftfield to key a three-run fifth inning Thursday as Longwood beat Lindenhurst, 8-1, in a Suffolk I softball game.
Latest HS sports stories
"It was a little bit scary at third base,'' said winning pitcher Jen Corona, who had to take a perilous lead off third and worried about getting drilled by a line drive. "I just knew I had to get out of the way.''
Corona, who was hit with a line drive at third last week, dodged two liners Thursday. Then Longwood coach Jackie Legnon removed her for pinch runner Alyssa Fuentes.
"She got hit with a line drive against Connetquot and I didn't want her to get hit again," Legnon said. "We have to keep her safe. Mele's swinging a big bat, so I wanted her out of there."
Mele went 3-for-5 with two RBIs for the reigning Suffolk Class AA champions and rightfielder Kaitlyn Weil had two RBIs for the Lions (2-1). It was a good win for a Longwood team that lost to Connetquot, 5-4, in the season opener.
"I would love to be champions again,'' Corona said. "But you're only as good as your last performance, so we're taking it one game at a time.''
Lindenhurst (0-3) managed only four hits against Corona, who pitched a complete game, striking out six and walking two. With the game scoreless in the second inning, Corona escaped a bases-loaded, none-out jam by getting a flyout, a groundout and a strikeout.
"She's done a good job so far,'' Legnon said. "I feel confident with her decisions.
"The kids do a great job motivating themselves. It's a good win."