By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr.
Photos by Doug Bostwick, www.sportshotswlb.com
What a difference a day makes. On Monday, the Shore Regional Blue Devils softball team were at Monmouth Regional when the Falcons crushed the Blue Devils 22-7. One day later the two squads played in West Long Branch where the Devils prevailed 10-9.
“Monday’s game did not go our way,” said David Porta, head coach of the Blue Devils. “We knew they could hit well and they just kept getting good contact on the ball. We knew they were a good team, but not that much better than us.”
Porta pulled his team together for Tuesday’s game, putting the day before in the past and hopefully learning from mistakes. Well, it paid off. “For Tuesday’s game we got back our shortstop Riley Lawrence that really kept us in the game,” said Porta. But it was her little sister, freshman Dylann Lawrence who had a big impact. “Dylann struck out six Monmouth Regional batters and made some key adjustments in her pitches that we feel kept the Monmouth batters on their toes a bit.”
Porta added that Dylann Lawrence is a very accurate pitcher, throwing 74% of her pitches for strikes. “She is helped behind the plate by freshman catcher Danielle Radisch, who had three walks and a huge two-run single in the sixth inning for us,” said Porta.
After one inning the score was tied at two runs each. Monmouth Regional added three in the top of the second, while Shore only had one in the bottom of that inning. Shore held the Falcons scoreless in the top of the third and added one to their total in the bottom half of the third.
In the fourth inning both teams had one run. The top of the fifth was scoreless for Monmouth Regional, but the Devils tied the game at six during the bottom of the fifth inning.
The sixth inning had a total of five runs, three for Monmouth Regional and two for Shore. Going into the final inning the Falcons held a 9-8 advantage over the Blue Devils. The top of the seventh, Shore held the Falcons scoreless. The Devils had one last chance, and they used it to their advantage scoring two runs to capture the 10-9 victory and improved to 3-1 on the season, while the Falcons fell to 1-3.
“The game was back and forth and they had us 9-6 lead going into the bottom of the sixth, when Radisch hit her two-out two-run single to bring us within a run,” said Porta. The top of the final inning had Lawrence striking out the first Falcon batter and then had two ground outs to get us into the bottom of the seventh down 9-8.”
Angela Christopher led the Devils off with a walk, then stole second. She tied the game on a Shelby MacRae single to center. “Dylann Lawrence and Danielle Radisch each walked to load the bases,” said Porta. The Falcons struck out the next Shore batter and then Heather Pape was at bat with the game tied, two outs and bases loaded. “Heather was currently 0-2 with two strikeouts in the game, but we knew she was more than capable of handling the pressure.”
Pape delivered on a 1-1 count with a line drive, base hit up the middle which scored MacRae giving the Blue Devils a 10-9 victory. “It was the first time we had beaten Monmouth Regional in the past seven years and it has gotten us off to a 3-1 start this season. We really are a great young team with such great talent and these girls are only going to get better,” Porta said.
Shore plays in a tough A Central division of the Shore Conference. Currently the team standings are Red Bank Catholic on top followed by Holmdel, Shore Regional, Raritan, Wall, Monmouth Regional, Rumson-Fair Haven, and Trinity Hall.
Taking the loss in the circle for Monmouth Regional was Jordan Diefes. Leading hitter for the Falcons was Jamie Vigil with three and Erin Clancy drove in three runs while Emma Riccardi had a solo homerun.