By Lori Brown
GRAHAMSVILLE The Tri-Valley softball team opened its 2011 season on Monday afternoon by hosting The Family School Lady Falcons in a non-league game.
Due to the weather and field conditions, the Lady Bears’ two previous scheduled games were cancelled.
The Family School was missing some key players, including pitcher Lindsay Napolitano, third baseman Marissa Hammond and Raven Sauri, and had to play the game with only eight players.
T-V started the game strong on offense and defense and went on to record a 28-0 win.
In the top of the first inning, Family School’s Jaci Koch singled to left field, which was the only hit of the game for her team. Because of a T-V error, Koch advanced to third base and Michelle Jorgensen advanced to second base.
T-V pitcher Courtney Kelly kept the Lady Falcons from scoring as she induced a high pop fly to end the inning.
In the bottom of the first, the Lady Bears went through the batting order and scored 12 runs. The Lady Bears were aggressive on the bases and took advantage of some errors.
On Rachel Adriaans’ second hit of the game, she slammed a two-run triple to right field. Later in the inning, with teammate Sarah Thilberg on base, Erin Smith belted a home run to left field.
In the top of the second, Kelly recorded two strikeouts to continue the shutout.
The Family School (0-2) played better defense in the bottom of the frame, holding T-V to three runs.
T-V’s Ashley Exner led off the bottom of the third with a triple to left field. With the bases loaded and two outs in the inning, the Lady Bears went on to score six more runs. Smith and Kayla Yager both crossed home plate when Nicole Bradley singled.
T-V relief pitcher Liz Bracken entered the game to start off the fourth inning and delivered two strikeouts.
In the bottom of the fourth, Mareena DiMilia hit a grand slam to center field as the Lady Bears extended their lead.
T-V played good defense in the top of the fifth. Even though they played with only eight players, the Lady Falcons never gave up and kept doing their best.
“We have not been outside yet because of the wet field [conditions],” Family School Coach Shane Mielke said. “We have only been out twice, for our games. Once it dries up, we have a lot of work to do.
“We will get better with experience,” added Mielke, who is in his first season of guiding the Lady Falcons.
Thilberg, who is the only senior on the Lady Bears’ roster, recorded four RBIs. Erin Smith went 3-for-5 with four RBIs.
“I loved the weather for our first game,” T-V Coach Mary Feusner said. “Hopefully, we are on a roll and can play games consistently.
“I admire Family School for coming with eight kids to fulfill their schedule,” Feusner added. “I liked our chance to come out and play ball and we ran bases at will. Our pitchers did a great job and only gave up just one hit today.”
T-V, which has seven returning players and five new players this year, was scheduled to play at Eldred yesterday in an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division V game.
In addition, the Lady Bears will be one of the six teams playing in the annual Ben Chesnick Memorial Softball Tournament, which is scheduled to be played tomorrow.
Games will be played at the Grahamsville Fairground Field and at Liberty Central School, where the Liberty Lady Indians play their home games.
The schedule is as follows:
12:30 p.m. Tri-Valley vs. Eldred at Grahamsville; Liberty vs. Monticello at Liberty
2:30 p.m. Livingston Manor vs. Eldred at Grahamsville; New Paltz vs Monticello at Liberty
4:30 p.m. T-V vs. Livingston Manor at Grahamsville; Liberty vs. New Paltz at Liberty.
The rain date for the tournament is May 14.