SULLIVAN TWP. — Dominating pitching and timely hitting are two key components to winning in softball and both were present Saturday in Black River’s season-opening 4-1 non-league win over Mapleton.
Senior Dagmar Smith was her usual self, striking out 15 while allowing just one unearned run and five hits. Hannah Messenger led the Pirates at the plate going 3-for-3 with two RBIs, a double and a pair of stolen bases.
Messenger, a senior third basemen, said she prefers to bat leadoff, but against the Mounties she fit perfectly into the cleanup role.
“I like to bat first because that gets my adrenaline flowing,” Messenger said. “But I also love coming up in a
two-out situation knowing I have to get a hit. I practice so hard at hitting, I feel like I will let the team down if I don’t get a two-out hit.”
Black River got on the board first in the third inning when Brooke White reached based on a one-out error. She stole second, was bunted over to third and scored on Smith’s double to deep left-center field. Messenger followed with a double to score Smith.
Mapleton (0-1) answered with a run in the fourth inning on two Black River errors.
Shelby Gregg singled to right field with one out, but was awarded second base when Black River first baseman Morgan Combs was called for obstruction for bumping Gregg as she rounded the base. One batter later Gregg scored the Mounties only run, coming home on a throwing error.
“A win is always good. To start the season with a win is always better,” Black River coach Lauren Toth said. “We have to get key hits and my upperclassmen did a good job of that today. After a month of practicing in the gym going stir crazy, to get out in the sun and get a win sets a good tone for the year.”
Smith picked up where she left off last year, fanning five of the first seven Mounties. She also worked out of a
one-out bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning, getting Shannon Boehm to pop out on the first pitch, then striking out Devon Lowman to crush the Mapleton rally.
“I feel like pitchers have an advantage early in the season because teams haven’t seen you yet, and you have had a year to get better,” said Smith, who has already committed to Division II Ursuline College. “In the sixth inning I knew I had to just focus and block everything else out and bear down on the batter. It also helps knowing I have a solid defense behind me that has my back if I get into trouble.”
The Pirates added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Smith led off the inning with her second double of the afternoon and Messenger sent her home with a single. Messenger advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Danielle Sexton’s fielder’s choice groundout.
Gregg struck out 11 in a losing effort, giving up just two earned runs on six hits.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pirates 4, Mounties 1
Mapleton Black River
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Wilder 3 0 1 0 White 2 1 0 0
Rogers 3 0 1 0 Patrusheva 2 0 0 0
Haupricht 3 0 1 0 Smith 3 2 2 1
Gregg 3 1 2 0 Messenger 3 1 3 2
Boehm 2 0 0 0 Sexton 3 0 1 1
Lowman 3 0 0 0 Scott 3 0 0 0
Kernya 3 0 0 0 Combs 3 0 0 0
Ernsberger 2 0 0 0 Smart 2 0 0 0
Van Driest 3 0 0 0 Alban 2 0 0 0
Totals 27 1 5 0 Totals 23 4 6 4
Mapleton 000 100 0 — 1 5 1
Black River 002 002 x — 4 6 2
2B – Smith 2, Messenger SB – Messenger 2, Smith, Sexton, White. SAC – Boehm; Patrusheva, LOB – Mapleton 5, Black River 5.
IP R ER H BB SO
Gregg (L, 0-1) 6 4 2 6 1 11
Smith (W, 1-0) 7 1 0 5 1 15
WP – Gregg, PB – Lowman