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Springville-Griffith varsity softball loses season debut to Amherst, due to young squad

GET ‘EM, SLUGGER — Emma Beckerich hits one home during the game against Amherst, which the girls lost due to a thin squad, this week. Photos by Dave DeLuca.

SPRINGVILLE — A thin Springville-Griffith Institute varsity softball squad lost to Amherst Central High School, 10-1 on April 10. Springville was missing two starters, because of vacation, and only dressed nine girls.

“That hurt. That definitely hurt,” Springville coach Tom Szczerbacki said. “Having younger girls playing positions that they haven’t played before, in the first game of year, and understanding where to be and where to go with the ball was difficult. It was tough for them, but I thought they played pretty well. It was asking a lot out of them, to fill those holes. As the game went on, they got better.”

Amherst took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning and then tacked on 3 runs, in the top of the third, to make the score 5-1. Springville struck in the bottom of the third, when senior catcher Erin Kwiatkowski got hit by a pitch and came all the way around to score and make it 5-1. Springville pitcher Katrina Kerkendall shut down Amherst in the next three innings – holding the visiting Tigers scoreless and not allowing a hit.

However, Amherst junior Maddie Ashton led off the seventh inning with a home run that kick-started a 5-run inning for Amherst. Amherst collected six hits in the seventh and broke the game open.

“We just needed to settle down,” Szczerbacki said. “We just made mistakes on a couple plays, a couple routine plays – we dropped the ball at first and that’s an out we have to make. It seemed to snowball, after that. We just need to learn to settle down and make the next play.”

PITCH PERFECT — Katrina Kerkendall shut down Amherst during three innings, despite the loss.

Springville committed three errors and misplayed three balls in the outfield that led to Amherst scoring 10 runs. The game was the first time Springville had been outside on the field all season, due to weather.

“Being out on the field for the first time; it was tough,” Szczerbacki said. “It was pretty lumpy out there. The outfield was lumpy, the infield was lumpy. But both teams had to play on the same field. It was definitely a tough game for us. As the game went on, the defense got a little better. We just have to think the game a little more mentally.”

Amherst’s senior pitcher Emilee Foster held Springville to 1 run on two hits over five innings, to earn the win. Foster struck out six Springville batters, before Katy Lesswing came in for relief. Lesswing pitched two innings, allowing three hits and striking out five. For the game, Springville struck out 11 times.

“We have to make contact,” Szczerbacki said. “Whether it’s doing drag bunt, slap bunt or a slap hit, we have to put pressure on the defensive team and hope that they’re not playing clean. We can’t go out there and think that we’re just going to crush the ball. We have to be smart at the plate and use our short game.

“We try to bat against our pitcher during practice sometimes, but it’s one of those things where we have to do more of it, so we can get a little more comfortable at the plate,” the coach concluded.

Springville was led at the plate by sophomore Emma Beckerich, who went 2-for-3 on a pair of singles. Freshman outfielder Carrie Dickinson went 1-for-2 and drew a walk, in her varsity debut. Senior Phoenix Rollek went 1-for-3, in the leadoff spot.

The S-GI Team will return to action on April 22, when the girls host Pioneer Central School.

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