Newburgh Free Academy’s softball team is hoping Saturday’s 13-4 victory over Washingtonville is the start of something big.
The Goldbacks came into the April 30 non-league road contest with a 1-6 record and were coming off a 14-10 loss to archrival Kingston two days earlier. The loss to Kingston was especially disappointing because Newburgh held an early 10-0 lead.
But Newburgh coach Chris Leggett was all smiles after watching his club improve to 2-6 with the win over Washingtonville (1-7). The NFA offense was clicking on all cylinders with 18 hits and eighth-grader Samantha Williams pitched six strong innings to record the win.
Leggett attributed Newburgh’s slow start to having a relatively young roster and playing few games in the opening month of the season.
“It’s taken a little time for our younger ones to get acclimated to varsity softball,” Leggett said. “We’ve just come alive the last two games with our bats and I just think it’s because we’ve played just five games in five weeks. Now we’re getting more experience as we go. Slow start, fast finish for us I’m hoping.”
Taryn Judson put on a display of power hitting for Newburgh with three doubles and five RBIs. Leadoff hitter Marissa Scarano and No. 2 hitter Emilee Gallagher had three hits apiece and combined to score five runs.
Ali Miller, Melissa Schulze, Maddie Gravel and Parker Mullarkey added two hits each for the Goldbacks.
Scarano, a junior center fielder who has committed to play Division I softball at the University of Albany, is confident the Goldbacks will rebound from their slow start this season.
“I think this team has a lot of potential,” Scarano said. “There’s a lot of young talent. So I think the more we work on just where to position players, we’ll be very successful later in the season and especially in the upcoming years.”
Scarano felt it was important to bounce back from the deflating loss to Kingston.
“We needed that confidence boost,” she said.
There were some tense moments for Newburgh early vs. the Wizards as the hosts jumped out to a 3-1 lead after three innings.
But the Goldbacks tied it at 3-3 in the top of the fourth before taking a 7-3 lead with four runs in the fifth.
Schulze drove in one run with an RBI single to center and Gravel added another with a double to center. Judson plated two more with her second double of the game.
After Washingtonville cut its deficit to 7-4 with a run in the bottom half of the fifth, the Goldbacks put it away with six runs on seven hits in the sixth to make it 13-4. Judson’s third double scored two during the frame.
“Taryn is a great hitter and she has so much power behind her,” Scarano said. “She’s a great asset to our team. And especially batting sixth, she did a great job today.”
Leggett was really pleased with Williams’ performance on the mound. She scattered seven hits, striking out eight and walking just two batters.
“Sam is just a tremendous worker and a great kid to coach,” Leggett said. “Always positive.”
Williams, who got her first varsity win, had to come out for one inning when she had a problem with one of her contacts. Ryan Keller allowed one run until Williams returned to pitch in the fourth inning.
“My contact fell out of my eye and something happened with my eye,” Williams said. “But I’m good now and I’m glad we got the win.”