By John Jackson, Staff Writer
Manhattan’s softball team continued its eight-game home stand as it split its third doubleheader in a row against Canisius.
The Jaspers’ bats went quiet in the first game, but exploded in the second game. They scored one run on six hits in game one and fell 3-1. In game two however, they scored 11 runs on nine hits and went on to win 11-4.
“I think we faced two very good pitchers today,” said outfielder Victoria Ross. “I actually think that our hitters do better with better pitching. I think we rise to that level and I think we kind of went into it like ‘we don’t get swept at home, we got to do a job and get it done.’ ”
In game one, two costly errors in the second inning put starting pitcher Briana Matazinsky in an early 2-0 hole. Although early in the game, the offense couldn’t pick up Matazinsky who also gave up an earned run on an RBI single in the fourth inning.
The first game featured a lot of missed opportunities for the Jaspers. With the bases loaded in the fourth inning, Stephanie Reinhardt lined out to end the inning. They also loaded the bases in the seventh to score only one run. They ended up leaving 10 players on base.
The first two innings in game two looked similar to game one as they went down 1-2-3 in both innings. In the third inning however, the first two batters reached base via base on balls. Elena Bowman came up later in the inning with two outs and crushed a ball over the center field wall to take a 3-2 lead.
“I fell down early in the count and I just told myself ‘quick to the ball,’ said Bowman on her approach. “I was trying to think right side, just score the run … we had two outs so I really just wanted to put the ball in play … and she laid me one so I just took advantage of that.”
The home run was Bowman’s 10th on the season and assistant coach Cat Clifford knows she is fortunate to have a player of Bowman’s caliber on her team.
“She’s one of those one in a million players and I told her she impresses me every day,” said Clifford. “I love watching her demeanor and her attitude is great. I mean she’s great to have around. She’s great for the team, she’s great for us and we love to have her.”
After falling behind 4-3 in the top of the fourth, the first three Jaspers reached base to start the bottom of the fourth. Anna Crowley came off the bench to pinch-hit and took advantage of the opportunity as she hit a ball up the middle to tie the game.
With the game tied and the bases still loaded, Ross also came off the bench to pinch-hit. She hit a single which scored two runs, giving Manhattan a 6-4 lead.
“I think a lot of us get put in that situation on the bench,” said Ross regarding her pinch-hit at bat. “You always come in when your back is against the wall: runners on, tied game, or you’re down a run … you got to do the job. I think it is something that Elena said earlier in the week, she said pressure is made up, that pressure is something you only see when you see failure, and that really stuck with me … The game doesn’t know what the situation is, or who’s up to bat, or that it’s a pinch hit, or that it’s a tied game so just do your job, do what you can do.”
The Jaspers ended up batting around in the fourth inning and capped it off with six runs on five hits and one error. They scored two more runs in the fifth inning to make the score 11-4 which would be the final.
The Jaspers’ record is now 21-17 as they’ve played 38 games so far in the regular season with 12 more to go. When asked about the difference in coaching at this time in the season, assistant coach Clifford talked about some adjustments that had to be made.
“We’ve been changing things,” Clifford said. “We had a few injuries. We’ve had a few positions moved, so we’re switching things in the lineup, we’ve been switching some people in the infield, but we’re starting to find our niche.”
The Jaspers continue their home stand when Fairleigh Dickinson comes to Riverdale on Tuesday for a doubleheader.