By coaches Rick LeClair and Jim TenEyck
For the Express
Matt’s Hot Screamers made the long trip to Speculator to face the Oxbow Inn, in their third game of the season on Tuesday, June 27. The usual festive mood of the group would take a back seat to a subtle quietness on this summer evening. The sudden passing of Jonathan Miller occupied the minds of all those associated with the team. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the Miller family during this difficult time. The team has dedicated the season to Jon, and will wear ribbons on their jerseys for the remainder of the season in his memory.
Much like their last game, that saw the girls come out swinging in the first inning to score six runs, the girls once again began the game by banging out eight hits, and tallied seven runs, in route to a decisive 16-4 victory. With one out, Mckenzie Kelley, DeDe Ste. Marie, Kimmie Vrigian Lindsay Paluck, Kyle Hauser and Heather Levi hit consecutive base hits to plate four runs. After a fly out, Crystal LaPorte and Jess Meeker followed with two more singles, which drove in three more runs, to up the score 7-0 before the host ever got to the plate.
After a scoreless second inning, the home team managed to score one unearned run on an error, a fielders choice, and a single, to make the score 7-1. The Screamers quickly responded, in the top of the fourth inning, with the barrage of hits that they have become known for during their previous championship years. Heather Levi had a double, while Brittany Jackson, LaPorte, Melanie Levi, Tera Arey, Rockhill, all singled, followed by Kelley with a triple. By the time the inning ended, five more runs were on the board, and the girls owned a 12-1 lead.
The ability to keep “tacking on” more runs is what make a good team truly great, and on this night the girls showed they were not done yet. In the fifth inning, Vrigian led of the inning with the second of her three hits, and Paluck followed with a smash between the outfielders. By the time the ball was retrieved, Paluck had circled the bases for a two run homer, and the score was now 14-1.
In the seventh inning, the ladies added two more runs on base hits by Kelley, Vrigian and Paluck, who all had three hits in this contest, to make the score 16-1. The home team managed to score three meaningless unearned runs in their final at bat, to make the final score 16-4.
Hauser and Kelley divided the pitching duties, giving up only seven singles, and let the defense do their thing as usual. Offensively, the bats came alive, pounding out a total of 22 hits. Besides the three hits each, by Paluck, Vrigian and Kelley, Rockhill, LaPorte, Hauser, and Heather Levi, all had two hits apiece, with Levi having a double. Ste. Marie, Jackson, Meeker, Mel Levi, and Arey all had a hit, to give every hitter in the lineup at least one hit. Getting contributions from each and every hitter, turns the lineup over, and keeps constant pressure on the defense. There are no easy innings for their opponents, and now that the bats have risen to their capabilities, the team is rounding into form. The excellent pitching, stellar defense and explosive offense have the team ready to make another run for a championship. As the saying goes in sports, “On any given night,” means never taking anything for granted, nor overlooking an opponent. This team, as have the previous three teams, knows that.
There are no games scheduled for tonite July 4, due to the holiday. The league resumes action on July 11, with the Screamers hosting Eagle Bay at Arrowhead Park. Game time is 6:30 pm.
The Screamers will also be home the following week July 18 for a game versus Chestertown. The two postponed games from their earlier rain outs have been rescheduled. On July 25, the girls will host Raquette Lake, and on Aug. 1, the team will conclude the regular season with a trip to Long Lake play offs will begin Aug. 8, with the championship game being played on Aug. 15.