One set of Eagles has its wings
GALWAY Two games into the season, perennial Western Athletic Conference softball power Duanesburg is right where it wants to be.
Galway just wants to be outside.
Duanesburg made Galway’s lack of time on the field show in the early innings Tuesday as it took a 14-0 lead after three innings and went on to a 16-3 league win.
“We’ve been able to get in some scrimmages, and that’s helped us once we got the season started,” said Duanesburg coach John Conway, whose team opened with a 16-1 win at St. Johnsville on Monday.
“This was only our third game, and fourth time on a softball field this season,” said Galway coach Paula Canell, whose team has played three games. Tuesday’s game was the second time Galway has been able to set foot on its own playing field.
“We did the best we could inside. We couldn’t get any scrimmages because our field wasn’t ready because of the weather.”
Galway’s lack of time on its own field — or any field, for that matter — showed early.
“It’s the same thing it always is with us against Duanesburg, nerves,” said Canell, whose team helped Duanesburg jump ahead by committing four errors in the first three innings. “Our nerves get the best of us, and we make defensive mistakes that we normally wouldn’t make.”
Not that Duanesburg needed the help.
“I think we’ve got a really competitive team. I’m excited about this season,” said Conway.
As well he should be.
Leadoff hitter Becky Nicolella had a pair of hits and scored twice, Hannah McGuire went 4-for-5 and drove in two runs from the No. 2 spot in the order, and shortstop Stephanie Rice had three hits and drove in four runs, batting third.
The trio had all come to the plate three times before Galway completed its first trip through its lineup in the home third. Rice’s first two at-bats produced a two-run triple in the first inning and a two-RBI double in Duanesburg’s eight-run second inning.
“We want to settle in and try to get as big a lead as we can,” said Rice.
“You have to stay focused, and we all know what we want to do,” said McGuire.
All of which helped senior Erika Kenny settle into her first varsity start. Kenny allowed only one Galway baserunner, due to an error, through the first three innings. She didn’t allow a hit until sophomore Ariann Ceroalo stroked an RBI single up the middle with one out in the fourth.
“That was her first varsity start, and she threw a nice game,” said Conway. “She’d been behind Dani Hennel, and didn’t have a lot of chances to pitch last year.
“She’s not overpowering, but she hits her spots. That’s her game, and when she’s on, she’s tough to hit.”
“I was nervous at first, and then I settled down and threw strikes. I knew I had a good team behind me,” said Kenny, who pitched the first six innings, striking out two and giving up four hits.
“I went from not really playing too much last year to knowing I was going to get a chance to pitch this year. It’s easier on me, because it’s not so stressful.”
Galway scored all three of its runs in the fourth. Shelby Suits also had an RBI hit, and a run came home on a wild pitch.
Despite the early deficit, Galway catcher Hannah Smith kept up a steady chatter of encouragement for her teammates.
“You just keep at it, because you never know. One big inning can turn it around,” said Smith, one of five seniors on the team.
“We don’t have a JV this year, so we’ve got more young players than we’ve ever had before. You have to keep them in the game, keep their spirits up.”
Canell used all three of her pitchers, part of her effort to sort through a larger than normal roster that includes a first-year player and three making the jump from modified.
“Without a JV team, I took 15 on varsity,” she said. “I’m still trying to see how I’m going to use everybody. I’ve never had a team with 15 players.”
Duanesburg 383 010 1 — 16 17 2
Galway 000 300 0 — 3 5 1
Kenny, Lombardoni (7) and Hanson; Snyder, Ceroalo (3), Uline (6) and Smith.