Bailey Rand admittedly isn’t a power hitter. But for reasons unbeknownst to her, Rand had a feeling Monday was going to be different. Her hunch proved correct.
“The whole day, I always try to get myself pumped up for the game — and the night before — so I was just thinking ‘You’re going to do it,’ ’’ Rand said. “The second time, I just did it. In my head, I just had to do it. And it felt great to just hit it over the fence.”
“It” being Rand’s three-run home run in Shoreham-Wading River’s five-run fourth in a 12-0 five-inning victory over host Southampton in Suffolk IX softball.
“I’m not used to that,” said Rand, who went 2-for-3 with five RBIs. Looking at her hands, she said, “I just didn’t feel a thing. It’s a great thing.”
Shoreham-Wading River is 4-0 after barely missing the Suffolk Class A postseason last season.
“Not making playoffs last year was pretty rough,” sophomore shortstop Joy Papagianopoulos said. “To come back and win the first four games, it feels pretty good. It was a big motivation for us.”
Southampton coach Virginia McGovern was forced to be creative with her lineup because players were away or injured. With the shortened roster, the Mariners could put only eight players in the field. Standout pitcher Samantha Wesnofske, who was 2-for-2 with two doubles, moved to third base, with Taylor Pike at shortstop, Caleigh Kiembock at second and Olivia Bruyn at first. Stella Schoenberg was forced to catch, with Maxine Loebs and Monica Williams covering the outfield on their own. Carly Cenzoprano was only able to hit because she hasn’t been cleared to play the field while recovering from a shoulder injury.
Leah Sellinger started in the circle for Southampton (2-4) and performed well, as the Wildcats’ first six runs were unearned.
“It was a little weird,” Papagianopoulos said, “but it helped trying to place the ball into the outfield in certain spots.”
But Papagianopoulos placed the ball where it was impossible to catch — over the fence for her third home run of the season. She also had five RBIs.
“As soon as you hit it, you know it’s a home run,” she said. “It just feels good.”
Victoria Coman threw a five-hit shutout and struck out four, but wasn’t willing to take the credit for herself. “I felt pretty good,” Coman said. “I knew my team was behind me and I knew they would be very good out there.”
Eight of nine Wildcats scored, including three runs by Katlynn McGivney and two from Lindsey McKenna, for the team looking to return to the playoffs.
“This year we’re feeling really confident in getting there,” Rand said. “I know we will.”