The rain Monday subsided in time for the Shelter Island varsity softball team’s first home game, a meeting with the Bishop McCann-Mercy Monarchs. The Islanders showed enthusiasm and team work but dropped their home opener.
The early season for baseball and softball with its chilly winds and often cloudy skies can be an exercise in trying to keep warm for the fans, but the small knots of parents and friends on the sidelines kept a supportive chatter going.
The Island’s team is a mix of both seasoned and younger athletes, from seniors to 7th graders. This early in the season some players are still getting enough practices in to compete, and others are torn between the roles of athletes and thespians. Coach Jackie Brewer is happy to be back on the field as her team matures and enthusiastically keeps instruction coming from the dugout and face-to-face between innings.
Julia Labrozzi hits at the top of the order. She faced down the fast pitching of the Monarchs No. 6. Determined to swing, she didn’t let the ball get by her and although thrown out at first, she let the visitors know she was ready to play.
Sarah Lewis pitched for the Islanders. Her control and speed is noticeably better than last season, and she responded to Coach Brewer’s urging to “put it right in there” as she struck out the first two batters in the top of the second inning.
Catcher Bianca Evangelista has a strong arm and quick reactions, making some nice stops behind the plate.
Shortstop Phoebe Starzee gets her bat on the ball but is working at getting the distance to allow her to get on base. Lily Garrison, playing right field for the game, is another player who is unafraid to swing.
Amira Lawrence plays center field and despite her speed, was caught “in a pickle” in the bottom of the second inning, the fans urging her on as she dashed back and forth between first and second bases.
In the top of the fourth Melissa Frasco, playing third base, scooped up the ball and fired to first where Emily Strauss grabbed for the out. Unfortunately, the Monarchs were able to get a burst of scoring in the fourth, stretching their lead to 10-0.
Undeterred, left fielder Lauren Gurney was determined to show some power, and got a hot hit past the shortstop for a single. She stole second to put the Islanders in scoring position for the first time, but with two outs the team she was unable to get her home.
Despite some nice efforts at both the plate and in the field through the rest of the game, Shelter Island was unable to get things going and the Monarchs won, 19-0.
Domily Gil was sidelined for the game as she recovers from oral surgery. Ninth graders Audrey Wood, Jennifer Lupo, Maria Carbajal and 7th graders Anabella Springer and Isabella Fonseca cheered from the dugout, gaining knowledge of the game and the challenges of playing a varsity sport at a young age.
The season is brand new and the team will be playing three games per week until early May. Coach Brewer has plans to allow the team to improve steadily as they get used to the speed of the game.
The next home game is April 6 at 4 p.m. against the Pierson Whalers. Come out, get some fresh air and celebrate the warming days of spring!