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JEFFERSONVILLE, NY — Friday the 13th of April wasn’t a lucky day for the Lady Bulldogs of Sullivan West.
With fringes of snow lingering in some shady spots at Lauren Hughson Athletic Field, the visitors edged the Lady Bulldogs 7-4 in the early season non-league home-stand contest against the Lady Eagles of John S. Burke Catholic School.
The “we was robbed” play of the afternoon occurred late in the game, when Sullivan West’s Josephine Martinez was called out on a close call at the plate.
Despite her emotional appeal to the home plate official, the call stood the test of time and she was sent back to the dugout.
Burke posted two runs in the third frame, added a couple more in the fourth and wrapped up their attack with three runs in the sixth.
The Lady Bulldogs posted two runs in the sixth, and added two more in the final inning.
The Lady Eagles racked up a total of nine hits, while the home team posted six.
Burke’s Jennifer Lawless was 3 for 4, while Sullivan West’s Martinez led her team at 2 for 4.
Burke’s Kyleigh Dana earned the title of winning pitcher with a lot of smoking heat from the mound,
Sullivan West’s starter Morgan Kraack got tagged with the loss, after being relieved by Isabel Nearing.
Dave Holmes has been at the helm of Burke softball since 2001.
“We know they are going to play hard against us, and we’re going to give them the same effort… they are really well coached,” he said of the matchup between the two varsity softball squads.
Burke is led by a trio of captains: Jennifer Lawless, Arianna Recinos and Caitlyn Tashman.
Three Lady Eagles took on the press after the win.
Kyleigh Dana, 16, an 11th-grade pitcher. “We came out strong, and finished strong… I think it’s going to be a good season; we’re always improving.”
Jennifer Lawless, a 16-year-old junior shortstop. “We played hard all around… the whole team is strong, and we put out a good effort.”
Arianna Recinos, 17, a senior catcher. “Our confidence from our last game to this game grew tremendously… we work really well as a team….”
Mike “Elmo” Ellmauer has been coaching Sullivan West softball teams for a total of 36 seasons, starting in the days before the merger of three local school districts.
“We’re a work in progress,” he said of the 2018 team, adding that it’s refreshing to take a break from practicing with “gloves, snowsuits, and raincoats and umbrellas” as winter finally eases its grasp and yields to spring-like weather.
The veteran coach recalled first playing on the field built in 1990, in the aftermath of one of his team’s making to the states in 1989.
“I’ve been around a while, and the field’s good.”
Early in the season, the Lady Bulldogs are captained by a six-pack of seniors: Julia Daif, Kelsey Farrell, Sydney Favre, Nicole Kocher, Leizel Schlott and Hailey Stagl.
A trio of Sullivan West players talked about the game and the new season.
Julia Daif, a 17-year old senior, guards the plate, taking over as catcher after Schlott tore her ACL in a basketball game. “It had its ups and downs,” she said of the game, adding of the season, “It’s a little early to call now, but every day we’re improving.”
Isabel Nearing is the team’s relief pitcher, and at 16 is a junior. “I think we have a lot of hope for the season… we started off a little slow, but came back… we’re very proud of our team, and when we keep our heads up we can play well..”
Morgan Kraack, a 15-year-old sophomore holds the number-one spot on the mound. Summing up the game, she said, “We worked hard and didn’t hang our heads, we stayed strong as a team.”
What about the season?
“Everybody is stepping up, doing what they have to do,” replied Kraack.
For more photos and an online feature “Practice Makes Perfect,” visit www.riverreporteronline.com.