Late swing, early runs, good first impression.
Christina Hussey, making her first varsity start, blooped a two-run single to right in the first inning and Rebecca Stopsky made those runs stand up as Smithtown East held off host Whitman, 2-1, Tuesday in a Suffolk League III softball game.
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"It was a fastball outside and I just went with it," said Hussey, whose hit came with two outs and scored Madison Provencher, who had walked, and Mackenzie Buckley, who had also blooped a single into short right for the Bulls (1-1).
"She did a great job," Smithtown East coach Glenn Roper said of Hussey, who actually hit the ball much harder in her next three times up. She flew out to center and drilled a pair of doubles to right-center off loser Jenna Piromalli, who struck out six but walked nine.
"I use rightfield all the time," Hussey said. "I wait on the ball and I don't usually pull it."
Her first-inning hit made a winner out of Stopsky, who had good control of her curve all afternoon. She struck out six, walked two and allowed only one hit -- a bunt single by Rachel Guida in the second inning when Whitman (0-2) scored its only run on an RBI groundout by Sarah Marchesiello.
But Stopsky wasn't unhittable, as she allowed several well-hit ground balls and line drives to the outfield. But her defense, especially shortstop Buckley, was outstanding -- until the seventh.
That's when a pair of infield errors put the winning runs on base with one out. But Stopsky -- "She was our stopper today!" chirped Roper after the game -- froze Ariel Khatchatourian with a curve and Christina Lofaso with a changeup to end the contest. In fact, Stopsky struck out the side in the seventh.
Lofaso had drilled a hard line drive down the leftfield line that hooked foul on a curve, prompting Stopsky to change the pattern for her final pitch. "She hit a few good foul balls," Stopsky said of Lofaso. "That was scary. I wasn't going for the strikeout, but that was definitely my best changeup of the game."
Slow pitch, fast swing, lasting impression.