By Benito Vila
It seems an easy enough formula to follow: you pitch, you field, you make outs, then you come up, you get on, you hit, you score. A team that does all those things consistently, with enthusiasm, wins game after game.
The Pierson varsity softball team had misplaced that simple recipe of late, coach Melissa Edwards at a loss last week to explain where the zest and zeal of her team had gone. That flavorless play was gone this week though, the Lady Whalers battering winless Southold/Greenport 11-0 Monday and topping league-leading Port Jefferson 12-4 Tuesday.
The satisfaction was clear on Coach Edwards face after Tuesday’s game when she said, “It’s been so great. They’ve come ready to play and it’s made all the difference. It’s the way we set out to play since the beginning. It’s been missing and now it’s back!”
Coach Edwards emphasized that emotional point in celebrating the win with her girls, saying, “Welcome to 2009! because that’s exactly what I want from you and what you’ve all been talking about. That’s the way we have to show up, every day, every game.”
The two victories close out the first go-round of League VIII play and leave the Lady Whalers 3-2 as they head into the League VII cross-over. That schedule sent the team to 5-0 Mount Sinai yesterday and has them hosting 3-2 Mattituck in Mashashimuet Park tomorrow. A non-league contest at home with upstate Penfield is set for Monday, with heavy-hitting Bayport-Blue Point coming in next Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
Runs Come Early
In both of the wins this week, the Lady Whalers took the lead in their first at-bat and went on to score again in each at-bat until the sixth. By then the games were well in hand. Meanwhile, the opposition was unable to do anything of note against the pitching of freshman Melanie Stafford and the defense behind her, a four-run second on Tuesday being the sole exception.
A six-run Pierson first fired up the offense Tuesday, singles by Natalie Abbene and Kara Gengarelly and a walk to Kaci Koehne setting the table, and base hits by Samanthe Federico, Katie Osiecki and Brianna Hand clearing the bases. After the Lady Royals made the score 6-4 in the top of the second, Alicia Tagliasacchi smoked a single to shift momentum back to Pierson.
Two runs in the third, another in the fourth and yet two more in the fifth distanced the Lady Whalers from their visitors, Koehne, Hand and Osiecki all mixing in run scoring hits. Osiecki went four-for-four on the day, driving in three, the four hitters in front of her a collective eight-for-fourteen.
Coach Edwards complemented the defensive effort, pointing out that the team managed to keep the Lady Royals from “putting anything together with Melanie getting them to go three-up and three-down in almost every inning. They had their hits  but our defense was pretty good in making their plays, especially Natalie in left and Lindsay [Warne] at short.”
On Monday, Pierson took a 1-0 lead in the first, added four in the second and one more in the third. It was 8-0 after four and 11-0 when the Lady Whalers went out to the field for the sixth. Coach Edwards described the game as somewhat “sloppy,” 10 walks and several Lady Clipper errors helping her team along.
Still, Coach Edwards liked what she saw on the field Monday, optimistic the extra hitting before the game had given the Lady Whalers some extra confidence. In earning the complete-game shutout win, Stafford pitched a two-hitter with seven strikeouts. Federico and Oseicki each went two-for-four with two RBIs and Gengarelly went two-for-three with two runs and an RBI.