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Democrat Photo by Frank Rizzo

NARROWSBURG SHORTSTOP KIM Jay holds up the glove for ump Paul Orr after tagging out Ashley Whittiak of Sacred Heart (Pa.) in Wednesday’s game. Second baseman Katie Yacino backs up the play.

Softball Season Returns

By Frank Rizzo
NARROWSBURG — Sullivan West/Narrowsburg softball coach Lionel Billard could almost take the non-league loss to visiting Sacred Heart of Scranton (Pa.) in stride on Wednesday.
After all, his charges were playing their second home game in three days and were expected to get another one in on Thursday, against visiting Liberty (results were unavailable).
“A lot of people aren’t getting games in,” Billard commented after Wednesday’s 12-10 loss, which followed Monday’s 26-6 pasting of visiting Downsville.
Indeed, as of press time, Narrowsburg’s were the only games, baseball or softball, played in Sullivan County so far.
For the rest, it’s a matter of waiting for the snow to melt and the fields to dry off.
Asked about the status of his facilities, SW/Jeff-Youngsville athletic director Dave Franskevicz half-joked, “They’re kind of moist, with a little white [stuff], a little water, dead grass… the baseball field might be playable, with just little problem [areas] in the outfield.”
What about the softball field?
“We haven’t seen it since last April,” he laughed.
Narrowsburg athletic director and baseball coach Scott Haberli was glad he had the foresight to schedule a non-league game against Notre Dame in East Stroudsburg, Pa., last Wednesday.
That was the only baseball or softball game played in March by any county team.
“That was our first day outside,” Haberli said of his team’s 12-11 win. “Offensively. we’re okay because we got to use the batting cage indoors. But we’re suffering outdoors.”
The Indians lost in Chester 8-5 on Wednesday.
“The errors did it,” Haberli said of the game, Chester’s first win in two years.
“I’m not too worried. I’ve got a veteran team, very athletic, and they just need more time outside,” he noted.
Haberli said his squad has practiced twice at Lander’s Campgrounds in Narrowsburg.
As for its baseball field, across the street from the school — forget it for the near future.
“We have a game scheduled against Chester the Monday we get back from our break (April 16) and we are already considering not playing it, or switching it to Chester. It might not be ready,” Haberli said.
Mike Cookingham got the win against Sacred Heart, helping himself with two hits. Rob Taylor had two hits and two RBI and scored twice. Chad Powell contributed two hits, two RBI and three runs.
With few teams scheduling games during the upcoming school break, it means, in the words of Franskevicz, a “a compressed schedule.”
“It’s already compressed more than usual,” Franskevicz added. “[The season ] will be a test of depth, it will be tough.”
“May will be packed,” Haberli agreed. “You gotta hope for good weather and develop a lot of pitchers!”
Mixed Success
Billard said he saw good and bad in his team’s split of its home non-league games so far.
“We have a lot of learning to do,” he said. “But we fielded pretty well and didn’t hit so bad.”
Pitching remains a question mark, and Billard is looking for junior Mary Kuen, soph Heather Nober (winning pitcher on Monday), and frosh Tina Swendsen to develop.
Third-year catcher Jackie Ropke was the big hitter in Monday’s rout, going 3-for-4 with a two-run homer. Katie Yacino went 4-for-4 and scored four times. Nober, in relief of Swendsen, picked up the win and contributed two hits and two RBI.
On Wednesday Narrowsburg took an 8-4 lead but the visitors scored five in the top of the sixth — all on walks, and added three in the seventh for the margin of victory.
Nober, who took the loss, had four hits and Melanie Hector added two hits while Kim Jay drove in two runs.

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