By Mike Zummo
The Valley Central softball team came out swinging and scoring early, which turned out to be a huge benefit in an 8-1 rain-shortened victory on Wednesday night over the Washingtonville Wizards at the Maybrook Little League field.
“Offensively, we’ve been on fire the first two games,” Valley Central coach Katie Farrugia said.
The Vikings scored four runs in the first inning, drawing two walks, and scored their first run on a sacrifice fly by Alyssa Bonilla. Lauren Serrao then followed with a two-run double and eventually came home when the Wizards threw the ball around.
“I thought our approach to the plate was pretty well executed when we went up there,” Farrugia said. “They were looking to find our pitch and to make sure we swing at our pitch and I think they did. I think they took the right pitches and swung at the correct pitches.”
Despite being held scoreless in the second inning, the Vikings continued to swing the bat well in the third and fourth innings, even though the latter was interrupted for about 20 minutes by a rain delay.
Serrao singled and scored when Brianna Robinson reached on a throwing error, and then came around to score herself. Emilia Brundage walked in the fourth before the game was interrupted by rain. After the resumption, she went to second on a wild pitch and then came home on an error. Sarah Congelosi walked and scored on Serrao’s RBI single.
If the rain had any effect on the Vikings, they didn’t show it.
“I thought they were fine,” Farrugia said. “We were having fun in the dugout, but they just wanted to get out and play. They just knew what they needed to do. We needed to get three more outs and we had to get off the bases early to make sure we didn’t get caught in the rain again.”
The Vikings’ only concession to the rain was to purposely run into outs to end the fourth inning. The game was not yet official with the Vikings leading 8-1 in the bottom of the fourth.
Isabella Mayo set the Wizards down in order in the top of the fifth inning to make the game official, at which point both teams agreed to end the game before any further rain fell.
The rain didn’t show any sign of affecting Mayo either, and worked the plan to perfection, getting those three quick outs.
“It was ‘please, don’t walk anybody, just strikes,’” Farrugia said. “She’s pretty solid. She’s very stoic on the mound. She just doesn’t show much emotion. She just does her job, and you don’t see her get upset. She just takes the ball and pitches again.”
The Wizards only got to her once, when Ryan Pierce took her deep over the left field fence for a solo home run in the second. She responded by striking out two of the next three batters. It was the only hit she gave up in five innings. She struck out five.
Many of the Vikings play travel ball and have played last year once sports opened back up again, but it was last week was the first time in two years they have played in a Valley Central uniform.
“All of them were excited, from the seniors to the sophomores to the freshmen,” Farrugia said. “They just couldn’t wait for me. Every day, ‘when are we getting our uniforms. We took our pictures before the season even started because they had to get the yearbook done, and they were just excited to see each other. I had everybody in attendance on a Saturday at 8 a.m. in the morning and their excited to be with each other and just play.”