Things continue to be on the upswing on the softball field at West Hempstead High. With the Rams 15-3 rout of visiting Carle Place last Saturday morning, the team improved 4-2 in Nassau Conference ABC-VI, and remained undefeated on the friendly confines of its home diamond.
Sophomore Kate Shanley went 3-for-5 with four runs scored and three RBI, and hit her third home run in less than 24 hours to lead the way. Pitcher Danielle Cavallo went the distance, yielding just one earned run while striking out seven batters to pick up her fourth victory of the season. The win was the third straight for West Hempstead.
Consistent pitching, strong defense, and timely hitting have been keys for the Rams. “If Danielle is throwing the ball over the plate and mixing things up, we’re going to be in every game,” head coach Chris Van Kovics said. “Despite the lack of practice time, we’ve been pretty solid up the middle on defense. A few girls are smoking the ball, and we’re making opponents field the ball by bunting, slapping, and stealing. We’ve been a much better team since the weather warmed up.”
After dropping two of its first three games, West Hempstead started to find its stride. In a 13-1 victory at Manhasset, the Rams put runs on the board in every inning. Sophomore Jenna Eivazi was on base all game long and crossed the plate four times. Cavallo fanned a career-high 11 batters.
Next up was a home game against a vastly improved Sewanhaka nine. It was anyone’s game until the bottom of the sixth when the Rams put up the game’s final three runs en route to a 9-5 win. Shanley’s two-run bomb to left center, her second home run of the game, capped off the scoring. Deanna Palermo also went deep. It was the freshman’s first career round-tripper.
The Indians scored a pair of runs in both the top of the first and third innings, but then Cavallo got stingy in the circle. The sophomore hurler kept Sewanhaka off balance with her nasty changeup and basically shut the Indians down the rest of the way. Cavallo finished with nine strikeouts.
“Sewanhaka has a pretty strong team, so we knew it was going to be a tough game for us,” Van Kovics said. “Both teams scored a bunch of runs early, and then the pitching took over. The girls played good defense behind Danielle, and then we had the big sixth inning.”
While Eivazi has been hot at the plate of late, and Shanley’s four homers lead the conference, tight defense has been just as important for the Rams. Junior shortstop Sara Welti has been a vacuum in the middle infield, and junior center fielder Syndey Reitz has run down everything hit her way.
The Rams will look to continue riding high when they travel to Great Neck South this Friday at 4:30 p.m.