Less than two hours stood in between the Manhattan Jaspers softball team’s highest scoring output of the season and a pitcher’s duel against the Saint Peter’s Peacocks.
Both games of the doubleheader were polar opposites. They differed, but the results did not.
Manhattan won both: The first, thanks to a season-high 18 runs, and the second, a low-scoring affair, which the Jaspers won 2-1.
For Tom Pardalis, Manhattan’s head coach, both wins were well appreciated, no matter in what fashion they came.
“Well, it’s the kind of thing you want… When you get hitting like that you really love it,” Pardalis said.
“But, I’ve been doing this a long time and I found out that when you score runs so easy, the next game is the one that’s going to be dangerous, and sure enough, it was. … We did what we had to do today. We got the sweep.”
Amy Bright got the start for Manhattan in the first game and was stellar, going five innings of three-hit ball, while only allowing one earned run.
She began the game by striking out five of the first six batters she faced and finished with nine strikeouts on the day.
But, while Bright’s performance was solid, she was not the story in game one. Manhattan’s offense was.
The Jaspers exploded for a season-high 18 runs, behind an 11-run third inning and seven homeruns in the game.
Jenn Vazquez led the way for the Jaspers, hitting two homeruns and knocking in four runs.
“I was just trying to look away and keep my hands inside the ball,” Vasquez said. “We were all trying to do pretty much the same thing and we just kept saying one through nine, ‘take your pitch and drive it.’ I saw two great pitches and I drove both of them. …”
Stephanie Reinhardt also drove in four runs, and Amanda Paxson collected her four RBI’s via a grand slam in the third inning.
“You know, it’s contagious,” Pardalis said about the team’s offensive performance. “Once somebody gets a big hit, then the next person. You know, you get a lot of confidence and the other team gets down a little bit. It just seems like we just saw the ball real well out of the pitchers hands and we were driving everything.”
The second game was a different story for the Jaspers that left them wishing they had saved some runs from the first.
The Peacocks took an early lead in the first inning through a solo homerun by Taylor Corretjer. However, the Jaspers responded immediately in the bottom of the inning and tied the game, when Vasquez forced in a run on a walk with the bases loaded.
The game remained tied at one for the next four innings, as both starting pitchers—Alyssa Ruiz for the Peacocks and Briana Matazinsky for the Jaspers—were dealing.
In the bottom of the fifth, Mickayla Romero broke up the pitcher’s duel and gave the Jaspers a 2-1 lead with a solo homerun.
The minimal lead was threatened in the top of the sixth when the Peacocks had runners at the corners with two outs.
Matazinsky was in danger for the first time all game, but handled the situation with poise, forcing a grounder to short that ended the inning.
“I just trusted Elena [Bowman],” Matazinsky said about how her catcher helped her get out of the sixth inning jam. “She’s huge for me and I knew my team had my back.”
Matazinsky went back out to the mound in the seventh and retired the Peacocks, cinching a 2-1 victory for the Jaspers.
The victory pushes Manhattan’s record to 12-8, 4-0 in the MAAC and 8-1 at home.
The excellent home record is beneficial for the team, which is in the midst of 10 straight home games and still has six games left in the home stand.
“We always play well at home,” Pardalis said. “People don’t want to play us at home, that’s why we want to come in first in the MAAC because then we’ll host the tournament. A lot of people are rooting against us to host it here because they don’t like playing on our turf and they know how well we play on our turf.”