Calhoun’s Meghan Vecchione remembers having a thought in leftfield last season as an eighth grader on the varsity softball team.
“Sometimes, I was just watching,” Vecchione said. “I would think: we have the potential to be great.”
The Colts are starting to turn that potential into reality, and Saturday may have been Calhoun’s biggest statement yet against a good Baldwin program.
Vecchione was masterful in the circle and recorded her first 12 outs via strikeout in only her second-ever varsity pitching start. She ended the game with 15 Ks and allowed one hit and four walks. Vecchione added two hits and two RBIs of her own as unbeaten Calhoun blanked visiting Baldwin, 9-0, in a Nassau AA-I/II crossover.
Vecchione, who did not pitch last season when Calhoun went 9-8, is 2-0 this year with a save. (Not bad for a freshman.) Calhoun’s catcher, Gabriella Razza, is only an eighth grader. One last thing: Calhoun coach Jason Boland lets Razza call her own pitches. (Again, she’s an eighth grader!)
“It’s kind of scary [calling my own pitches],” said Razza, who had two walks and one run, “especially if I mess up.”
That didn’t happen too many times on Saturday for the Colts’ young battery. One of the only times Vecchione was in trouble was in the top of the first inning.
Baldwin’s Yaya Spencer drew a walk, followed by a long double to left-centerfield by Alex Burns — the Bruins’ lone hit — that made it second and third with one out. But Vecchione recorded back-to-back strikeouts that started a run of eight straight Ks.
Meanwhile, Calhoun (6-0) scored a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the first, and two more runs in the third highlighted by a single by Vecchione that scored Heather Berberich (1-for-2, two walks, two runs).
Vecchione helped her own cause again in the fourth with a single that plated two more runs. Baldwin (3-4) could never solve Vecchione, a self-described spin pitcher, who kept the Bruins off-balance with a steady diet of drops and curveballs, mixed in with an occasional fastball.
It was also a fastball that helped Calhoun score its last three runs. Senior Keri McLaughlin sent an inside fastball to centerfield and off the glove of Baldwin’s Burns, who made a great attempt at a catch, for a three-run homer in the sixth.
“I didn’t feel anything,” McLaughlin said about her home run at-bat. “It was so smooth.”
Smooth is a fitting word to describe Calhoun so far this season.
“I think this shows that we are a real competitive team,” McLaughlin said. “We’re out here and we’re ready to play.”