Southern Softball Squad Improves to 9-3 With Win Over Toms River South

By DAVID BIGGY | Apr 24, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy Southern’s Sarah Lally celebrates after scoring in the fifth inning of the Rams' 9-3 victory over Toms River South on April 22.

Manahawkin — Having a slew of seniors can be an asset to a team. But during softball season, sometimes it can be a detriment with all the factors that can cause distraction: senior trips, senior proms, and the dreaded senioritis.

Against Shore Conference Class A South rival Toms River South on Monday, the asset that is the senior class gave Southern fans something to cheer about, as the Rams started a busy spring break with a 9-3 drubbing of the Indians.

“We have a lot of captains on the team,” said senior Tatiyana Ford, who was given a day of rest from her usual pitching duties to play first base. “We don’t have one or two leaders. We have so many seniors that we really don’t have to worry about leadership, and having so many seniors helps us a lot.”

And while one senior helped Southern grab the lead for good in the fourth inning, a bunch more led the charge during a big fifth inning which sealed the team’s ninth victory of the season. Still, it was one of the younger Rams who got the victory party started in the first.

After senior Jackie Herrera walked to lead off the game, Ford two batters later drilled a single into right-center field and went to second on the throw to third. Freshman Sarah Lally then made it a 2-0 contest when she delivered a two-run single to right field. Lally later scored on a passed ball to make it a three-run opening inning.

Senior Christina D’Amodio got the start in the circle and had to work out of a couple jams, but the top of the third ended up becoming more than a slight problem when a walk and an error set the table for Kelsey Endreson, who hammered a 1-2 pitch over the center field fence to tie the contest at 3-3. In the fourth, D’Amodio managed to get out of a bases-loaded jam unscathed.

“A girl hits a homer off Christina and we just went to her and said, ‘Shake it off. It’s no big deal. We’ll take care of it.’ And that’s what we did,” Ford said. “For some reason, we get off to these slow starts in games. It’s always been like that for us. But we know how to flip that switch, too. Once we realize it’s really time to get going, we do it.”

Another freshman, Elizabeth Gosse, who went 2-for-3, hit her way on to start the bottom of the fourth and was on second base when Herrera stepped to the plate and whacked a single to bring her in with the eventual game-winning run.

“We didn’t let the homer or the errors get in our heads,” Herrera said. “We got on base and got our bats on the ball. In the fourth, I was just patient at the plate and got the right pitch to hit.”

In the fifth, the Rams (9-3)  picked a lot of right pitches to hit and utilized a mixture of timely hitting and excellent baserunning, coinciding with a pair of Toms River South miscues, to break open the game with five more runs.

After Ford singled to right, Lally walked and D’Amodio dropped what was supposed to be a sacrifice bunt, but the first baseman opted to try to get Ford at third base and the ball got away, allowing Ford to easily score. Lally was right on her tail and slid in safely at home for a 6-3 lead. D’Amodio scored when senior catcher Taylor Bass reached on an error.

With senior Chrissy Rinaldi running for Bass, she stole second base and remained there when Gosse blooped a single into short center field. With two outs, Herrera, who went 1-for-2 with a walk, took a pitch to the rear end to load the bases, before senior shortstop Emily Thompson drilled the first pitch she saw down the left-field line to bring in Rinaldi and Gosse to cap the scoring.

Meanwhile, head coach Jamie Bernaldo called on Gosse to relieve D’Amodio for the last three innings and the freshman was solid, striking out five while giving up no hits to register the save. Lally, D’Amodio, Ford and Gosse each ended up with two hits.

“We’re looking pretty good right now,” Herrera said. “I can see us doing some big things the rest of the season. Our focus right now is on A South, to see if we can win another division championship.”

The Rams had a few big games lined up for later in the week. They had to face undefeated Central – which defeated Southern a couple of weeks ago – on Tuesday and had back-to-back contests against Toms River North, tied with Southern in the division at 5-1, slated for Thursday and Friday.

Last week, the seniors returned from their four-day senior trip and the next day had to take on Brick Memorial in the quarterfinals of the Ocean County Tournament. The Mustangs scored twice in the first and once in the second en route to a 3-1 victory. The Rams managed just four hits. Southern rebounded the next day, knocking off Toms River East, 3-2, before smashing Brick Memorial, 12-6, on April 18.

“The OCT was hard because of the timing of it,” Ford said. “We just weren’t up for that game. But we came right back and got a couple of wins and got back on track. Now, we just have to keep it going – keep our heads up, be good teammates to each other and have a short-term memory. When something doesn’t go well, we have to turn it right around. I believe we can go far in the Shore Conference Tournament and the state tournament if we do those things.”

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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