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ESM’s Marissa Rizzi tosses shutout in win over Connetquot

Eastport South Manor's Marissa Rizzi (5) throws pitch

Eastport South Manor's Marissa Rizzi (5) throws pitch in the first inning during the Suffolk High School softball game between Eastport-South Manor and Connetquot on Friday April 29, 2016, at Eastport South Manor High School. Photo Credit: Bob Sorensen

Marissa Rizzi is in the type of groove that can leave even the best hitters shaking their heads.

The Eastport-South Manor pitcher followed up a no-hitter against Newfield with a shutout against visiting Connetquot Friday in a 9-0 non-league win.

“She’s just really been on the last couple of days,” coach Laura Ward said. “She was really locked in today.”

Throwing with her sister, Christina, behind the plate, Rizzi was able to limit the Thunderbirds to only three hits — none of which came after consecutive infield singles in the top of the second. She walked one, hit one batter and struck out five.

“It’s pretty easy to start off the game, but as the game goes on, you’ll either get stronger or you’ll feel weaker,” Rizzi said. “I feel like I got stronger by the fourth or fifth inning.”

The senior helped herself with an RBI triple in the top of the first inning that scored her sister from second, giving the Sharks a 1-0 lead.

Kailah Konkel subsequently beat out an infield single, scoring Rizzi. Konkel later crossed the plate on a wild pitch.

“Once we settle in with an early lead, I think the whole team settles in and feels ready for the rest of the game,” Ward said.

The Sharks took the 3-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth, as pitcher Sarah McKeveny of Connetquot (10-3) settled in after a shaky first. But the Sharks tacked on six insurance runs in the sixth thanks to RBIs by Nicole Shine, Deanna Colondona, Ally Hunter and Christina Rizzi.

Marissa Rizzi set down the final six batters of the game, sealing the victory for Eastport-South Manor (13-1).

Because Rizzi pitched to contact most of the afternoon, infield defense was key. Konkel played well at short, making strong throws across the diamond and making smart tosses to second to get easy outs. She said playing with Rizzi keeps her on her toes.

“Sometimes Marissa throws really well inside and I have to adjust accordingly,” Konkel said. “The hitters weren’t really catching up to her, so it was easy to adjust and read them well.”

Rizzi, who has thrown three no-hitters this season, has goals of bringing the Sharks a league championship and potentially a Long Island championship. Ward thinks she can do it.

“She’s consistent; that’s how she is,” Ward said. “She’s somebody who’s a force up at bat and from the circle.”

Friday, she proved to be both.

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