By Rob Potter
GRAHAMSVILLE Maggi Calo and Marissa Diescher led the Livingston Manor Lady Wildcats to a victory on the diamond on Tuesday afternoon.
Calo, a sophomore right fielder, belted two home runs and Diescher, a junior pitcher, tossed a one-hitter with 18 strikeouts as Manor shut out the host Tri-Valley Lady Bears, 8-0, in a non-league softball game in Grahamsville.
With the victory, Manor improved its overall season record to 8-2. T-V dropped to 4-8 on the season.
After a rain shower delayed the start of the game for about 20 minutes, Calo was the first batter to step up to the plate. She swung her bat and connected with a pitch from T-V’s Lauren Jones.
Calo sent the ball into deep right field between the Lady Bear center and right fielders. As the two outfielders ran towards the ball, Calo sprinted around the bases for a solo home run.
Manor, which is ranked 10th among the state’s Class D softball teams in the latest New York State Sportswriters Association poll, increased its lead to 3-0 in the top of the second inning. With one out, Angela Zayas reached base by being hit by a pitch. She moved to second base on a passed ball and advanced to third base on an error.
Zayas scored when Samantha Scott grounded out to second base.
Moments later, Victoria Davis crossed home plate on a wild pitch.
Another rain shower then moved in and delayed the game for 30 minutes. But Diescher didn’t seem to mind the pause in play as she retired the side in the bottom of the second with a fly out and two strikeouts.
With two outs and Zayas and Davis on base in the top of the fourth, Calo hit her second round-tripper of the afternoon. Calo again sent the ball into deep right field and quickly circled the bases for a three-run homer which gave the Lady Wildcats a 6-0 advantage.
Diescher led off the top of the fifth for Manor and lofted the ball into shallow center field. But T-V center fielder Rachel Adriaans robbed Diescher of a hit by making a beautiful diving catch.
However, Manor added two runs later in the frame. With Christine Babich at second base and Victoria Taggart at third base, Zayas singled to center field. Both Babich and Taggart scored on the base hit to give the Lady Wildcats an 8-0 lead.
As she stepped into the pitcher’s circle for the bottom of the sixth inning, Diescher was only six outs away from recording a perfect game. But T-V’s Sarah Thilberg spoiled Diescher’s bid for perfection with a solid single to right field to begin the inning.
Diescher responded by striking out the next three batters to leave Thilberg stranded at first base.
Diescher also struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh to complete the Manor victory.
Calo went 2-for-3 with four RBIs and Zayas was 2-for-2 with two RBIs.
“She has been swinging the bat very well lately,” Manor Co-Coach Kevin Clifford said of Calo. “Victoria Taggart also hit the ball well today. The whole team did a good job. Even when we made an out, we hit the ball hard at someone.”
Clifford also praised Diescher for her performance.
“She got ahead of the batters,” he said. “Victoria Taggart did a nice job of catching and our fielders were ready in case the ball was hit to them.”
Clifford noted that it was a good team win for the Lady Wildcats.
“Everybody got in the game for at least one at-bat,” he said.
T-V Coach Mary Feusner noted that Diescher “was really on her game today.”
“I don’t think we have seen another pitcher this season who throws with the speed she does,” Feusner said. “And we haven’t faced another pitcher with the variety of pitches she has.”
Feusner was quick to note that Thilberg’s hit and her players competing hard throughout all seven innings were positive aspects of the game for her team.
But she pointed out that there were some negatives as well.
“We had some sloppy plays on defense,” the veteran coach said. “We made errors that allowed them to put runners on base.”
The Lady Bears and Lady Wildcats are scheduled to square off in another non-league game on Thursday, May 20 in Livingston Manor.