Jennifer Cohen of Plainview-Old Bethpage hits for two RBIs during a...

Jennifer Cohen of Plainview-Old Bethpage hits for two RBIs during a softball game against Herricks on Monday, March 25, 2024 in New Hyde Park. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Good things happen when you put the ball in play, unless you’re facing Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK.

The Hawks’ defense was tested several times on Monday at Herricks but was able to make the plays in support of pitcher Piper Bockler, who constantly pumped in strikes in a 14-1 win over Herricks in their Nassau Conference II softball opener.

Bockler, who only struck out one batter in five innings, allowed just one earned run and no walks.

With a runner on third in the first inning, Amanda Narissi collected a sharp ground ball and whipped it to first to start an inning-ending 5-3-2 double play, finished by Bria Hospodar and catcher Kerriann Orth.

“You’ve got to be able to trust your defense as a pitcher,” Bockler said. “I really have a great team behind me that I trust a lot. We work a lot on fielding as a team and moving in sync at practice.”

The Hawks led 5-0 in the bottom of the fourth, but Herricks (0-1, 0-3) strung together three straight two-out singles to cut the lead to 5-1. Aliyah Begawala scored on a single by Megan Lee for Herricks’ only run.

Then with two runners on, freshman second baseman Angelina Mancuso snagged a line drive to end the threat.

“We focus on the fundamentals a lot. One step at a time for each play,” Plainview coach Karen Napoli said. “Fielding the ball cleanly, then throwing it . . . knowing what to do with the ball and who’s covering what base. The girls are very receptive of how to handle that and bringing that to the game.”

The Hawks came right back with a nine-run fifth inning, started by a leadoff double from Samantha Szypula, who scored on a single by Hospodar.

Ava Frangas got Plainview (1-0, 3-0) on the board in the third inning when she lined a single to plate Bockler.

“Once you get one, everyone starts to hit,” said Frangas, a sophomore. “We had a lot of positive energy to start the fifth inning and it carried through the whole lineup.”

Frangas went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, Bockler went 3-for-4 with two doubles and Hospodar had three RBIs.

It’s a statement win for Plainview, which has only two seniors. So what’s the ceiling for the Hawks’ youth movement?

“Hopefully there isn’t one,” Napoli said. “We have a young team and a small team, but they’re very eager and open to discussing their approaches and making adjustments. We definitely want to get back to the playoffs and do well.”

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