Even with the mound moved back three feet, Michele Daubman has been able to take one giant step forward.
With run scoring up and strikeouts down across Long Island in softball, Plainedge's senior pitcher is proving to be an exception in this the year of the hitter.
Daubman tossed her sixth shutout of the season Wednesday in a 5-0 win over Floral Park to improve her record to 11-0, giving her the most wins on Long Island. She allowed two hits without a walk while striking out 12 and is projected to improve on her numbers from last season when she was named first team All-State. Progress made all the more impressive considering the mound was moved back three feet this season to favor hitters.
Her success is in part due to her ability to mix up power and finesse pitches.
"I guess I'm in the middle," Daubman said. "I don't throw heat but it's not that slow, I guess there's a happy medium . . . A lot of it is about movement and I guess I've been holding my own as far as movement goes."
She did more than hold her own Wednesday as she helped Plainedge remain unbeaten, improving to 8-0 in Conference A-I and 11-0 overall.
"She's always wanting to get better and she does what she needs to do," said Plainedge coach Melissa Amitrano. "The girls are always behind her and she is definitely an asset to the team."
Another asset has been freshman catcher Taylor Curran. After Stephanie McKenna scored on an error in the top of the second inning and Dolores Diemicke beat out a grounder to shortstop to drive in another run in the fifth, Curran broke the game open in the top of the seventh with a two-run single that scored Alyssa Czarnecki and Diemicke to give Plainedge a 4-0 lead.
"I was having a tough game in the beginning, swinging at low pitches in the dirt and striking out," Curran said. "To come back and get that hit felt really good."
Melissa Correa struck out seven and did an admirable job getting out of jams to keep Floral Park in the game. But run support was difficult to come by against Daubman.
"I think we just have to hit and keep doing what we're doing," Curran said. "With Michele on the mound, we're going to be great."