Softball: Rutherford’s pitching and offense equal win
Thursday, April 19, 2012
BY TIM LEONARD
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SECAUCUS – Rutherford has had to learn to do things differently this season.
For the last few seasons, the Bulldogs have been a team with plenty of power and instant offense. Home runs and extra-base hits were how Rutherford won games.
There is still a big bat in the lineup in right fielder Ally Paskas, but Rutherford knows it has to string hits together, execute bunts and be smart on the bases to make the most of its offensive chances.
All of those things happened Wednesday in a 4-2 victory over Secaucus.
Sure, Paskas gave Rutherford an early lead with a solo home run in the first inning, but the Bulldogs put five consecutive singles together in a three-run sixth inning that ultimately decided the game.
“We don’t have the three or four power hitters who are able to drive the ball,” Rutherford coach Helen Antzoulides said. “On the flip side, we do have speed and singles hitters. We can do some things.”
The Bulldogs did them in the sixth. Immediately after Secaucus had tied the score at 1, Rutherford regained the lead with three runs. And the Bulldogs did it one hit at a time.
Devin Kehoe singled with two outs, making her the first of five straight batters to reach base. A single by Gina Viggiano put runners on first and second, and Cara Donohue followed with a run-scoring single to center. Donohue helped another run score by getting caught in a rundown between first and second, which allowed Viggiano to scamper home. Katie O’Sullivan blooped a single to center and Jessica Hild made it 4-2 with a run-scoring single.
“This year, when the opportunity is there we have to get it, because it might not be there again,” Viggiano said. “Last year, we had people who could bomb it.”
One thing that hasn’t changed is the presence of junior Julie Sosnicki (GOLD). The right-hander allowed just one hit through the first four innings. She finished with seven strikeouts.
Secaucus battled to get the tying run in the fifth. Ariana Simon led off with a single and Amanda Beckmeyer ripped a double just inside the left-field line. Brianna McCaffery dropped a bunt a few feet in front of the plate and Simon raced home to make it 1-1. The Lady Patriots loaded the bases with one out, but Sosnicki got a strikeout and groundout to prevent any further damage.
The Patriots added another run on a long homer by Julia McClure in the bottom of the sixth, but Sosnicki retired the side in order in the seventh.
“When you have Julie, our magic number many times is three. If we can score three runs, we’re going to be in that game,” Antzoulides said.