By Frank Rizzo
MONTICELLO April 20, 2001 A year ago, Monticello softball coach Ed Kaufmann observed after his team made a routine play, that ball would have wound up in center field.
Monticellos improvement has been obvious, and expectations are high this spring after a number of the Lady Panthers saw sizeable off-season experience.
The Monties bounced back from a heartbreaking 9-8 loss to Tri-Valley on Tuesday by spanking visiting Delaware Valley 17-1 Wednesday afternoon in Monticello.
It was definitely a better performance today, said Kaufmann after the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) non-division game was shortened by the 15-run rule in the sixth. We fell apart against Tri-Valley. We had a four-run lead going into the bottom of the seventh. We had mental lapses and did not make good decisions.
[Pitcher] Analey [Dietrich] threw well, but we made a bunch of little unforced errors behind her, Kaufmann added of the Tuesday game.
The team held a meeting before Wednesdays game, and we had a long talk. The girls reflected on what went wrong [yesterday] and how to fix it. It shows maturity on their part.
On Wednesday the Monties threatened in the first, but with runners on second and third DV hurler Christina Head caught Jessica Konefal looking for the third out.
But the hosts strung together a pair of hits, including an RBI single by Megan Drobysh, and a sac fly by Cindy Jessup, to put three runs on board in the second.
DV errors, an RBI groundout by Kristie Beamer, and aggressive baserunning by the Panthers gave them two more runs in the third.
The Eagles got their only run in the fifth. Ashley Reimer led off with a walk, advanced on a wild pitch, and scored when Alicia Peters reached on an error.
The Panthers responded with four in their half of the frame. A leadoff double by Kim Donohue was the only hit, but Head hit a couple of batters to load the bases. Two wild pitches and two groundouts accounted for the four runs.
Head got the only hit against her counterpart to start the sixth, but was doubled up at second when Erika Long lined out to Samantha Lynch.
The Eagle defense fell apart in the sixth. Monticello scored eight runs on just two hits, one of them a two-run homer by Lynch.
Dietrich finished with a one hitter, fanning six.
It was our first game, our first time outside. It was our first time seeing live pitching and I thought we hit the ball hard, said DV coach John Meyer.
We did some good things today, Meyer added. They have a good pitcher and people who can hit. I dont think the game was as bad as the score.
Kaufmann looks forward to getting at least three more games in before the OCIAA Division III slate begins next week.
His team has a chance for a rematch against Tri-Valley in this Saturdays Umpires Softball Tournament in Grahamsville.
I think after this weekend well be in good shape to start the league, he said.
Division III features defending Class B champ and state finalist Cornwall as well as Goshen and John S. Burke.
Notes: Tri-Valley beat Monticello 9-8 in Grahamsville when Julie Donovan drove home Heidi Manell with a bloop single in the bottom of the seventh. Earlier, Jessica Miller had tied the game with a grand slam. Manell was the winning pitcher as the Bears improved to 20.
Megan Drobysh had two hits for the Panthers as Dietrich took the loss.