By Rob Potter
LIVINGSTON MANOR An outstanding pitching performance and a balanced offensive attack allowed the Livingston Manor Lady Wildcats to record a victory in their first game of the 2009 scholastic softball season.
Sophomore pitcher Marissa Diescher struck out 15 batters, walked three and only allowed one hit on Tuesday afternoon to lead the Lady Wildcats to a 17-2 win over the visiting Tri-Valley Lady Bears in a non-league game.
Diescher was also one of the top batters for Manor (1-0). She went 2-for-4 with a double, four RBIs and three runs scored.
Also pacing the Lady Wildcats at the plate were sophomores Christine Babich and Angela Zayas. Babich went 3-for-4 with an RBI and scored twice, while Zayas went 3-for-4 with a home run, a double and a single. She had three RBIs and scored three times.
After Diescher struck out the side in the top of the first, Manor grabbed the advantage in the bottom of the frame. With one out, Emily Casey drew a walk from Lady Bears’ pitcher Lauren Jones. Casey advanced to second base on a wild pitch and stole third base. She then scored the first run of the afternoon on a wild pitch.
Diescher scored Manor’s second run when Babich reached base on an error.
The Lady Wildcats extended their lead to 3-0 when Britt Fredenburg crossed the plate on Victoria Taggart’s infield single.
After Diescher fanned the three T-V batters she faced in the top of the second, Zayas wasted little time in adding to Manor’s advantage. She led off the bottom of the second by ripping a solo home run. The ball left Zayas’ bat in a hurry and soared over the fence in left center field.
Manor pushed its lead to 7-0 in the bottom of the third. Marina Zayas began the frame with a walk and scored when Kaylee Velez was safe at first base on an error. Babich scored on a double steal play when the Lady Bears attempted to tag out Velez at second base.
Moments later, Velez crossed home plate on an error.
T-V (0-2) registered its only two runs of the contest in the top of the fourth. Rachel Adriaans led off and drew a walk from Diescher. Adriaans moved to second base on a wild pitch and went to third base on a passed ball. She scored when Ellen Williams grounded out.
The next batter, Karyn Sheeley, hit a bloop single into right field. She then stole second base and advanced to third base on a passed ball.
Sheeley scored on a passed ball to pull the Lady Bears to within five runs. But Diescher struck out the next batter to end the inning.
Manor got one of those runs back in the bottom of the fourth. Marina Zayas singled and went to third base when the ball got past the T-V outfielder. She scored when Babich stroked a bloop single to right field.
The Lady Wildcats scored three times in the bottom of the fifth. Angela Zayas and Casey both scored on Diescher’s single. Diescher then scored on a sacrifice fly by Fredenburg.
In the bottom of the sixth, Babich scored on a passed ball to give Manor a 12-2 lead. Moments later, Angela Zayas hit a ground rule double to bring both Taggart and Nina Zheng around to score.
Diescher singled to center field to score both Zayas and Zheng.
Diescher crossed home plate when Marina Zayas hit a sacrifice fly.
As Diescher returned to the Manor team bench, the umpires checked with both scorekeepers to verify the score. When told the score was 17-2 in favor of the Lady Wildcats, the umpires announced the game was over due to the 15-run rule.
“It was a great way to start the season,” Manor Co-Coach Kevin Clifford said. “We made some good plays in the field and had good at-bats. Marissa [Diescher] pitched an excellent game today.
“We have some things to work on, but I am happy to begin the season like this,” he added.
T-V Coach Mary Feusner noted that her team is very young.
“We have a lot of rookies out there,” Feusner said. “We only have four returning players this season. One of them isn’t here today, she’s down in New York City.”
Despite the lopsided loss, Feusner was able to find some positives in the contest.
“I thought we did some good things out there,” she said. “We were able to make contact with some pitches and scored a couple of runs.
“We had some good defensive plays,” Feusner added. “Rachel [Adriaans] had a nice diving catch in the outfield and Karyn [Sheeley] made an unassisted double play early in the game.”