Dolphins Overcome Sloppy Play To Advance In Playoffs
Beach Channel pitcher Jodi Vitale has been in the playoffs for four years and throughout that period, her team has been regarded as one of the favorites to capture the PSAL B softball title. But the Dolphins, who have won four straight division Queens IB titles, have come up on the short end in the semifinals to eventual champions Forest Hills and Newtown in the past two seasons.
In their quest to erase their past playoff demons, the fourth seeded Beach Channel got one step further in defeating Bronx High School of Science in a 14-6 home win yesterday. The effort was not as smooth as the Dolphins wanted as their sloppy play allowed the thirteen seeded Wolverines to hang around for much of the game.
A usually sound Dolphin’ defense allowed four errors, two of which were dropped throws by first basemen Donna Fuentes, to allow Bronx High School of Science to crawl back to an 8-6 lead in the top of the sixth inning. Vitale was a culprit as well with four walks that seemed to shake the senior’s confidence on the mound.
She eventually withstood the pressure by striking out the tying run in centerfielder Rebecca Theise to get out of a jam. It also helped Vitale reclaim her poise to spark the offensive that helped seal the game in her team’s favor.
“I tried to stay focus and not lose my cool or anything. Just keep my focus,” Vitale said. “I just wanted to be aware that my team was behind me and not to overdo anything and try not to do everything.”
In the bottom of the sixth, Vitale leadoff and coaxed a four pitch walk from starting pitcher Corrinne Fish. Daishel Cook and Samantha Lebron followed with walks to load the bases. Third baseman Dezire McPherson hit a line drive single to drive in 2 RBI to make it 10-6. Nine batters and seven runs later, Vitale came up again and knocked in a RBI single to make it 14-6.
“I guess in some situations that we felt like we may have let them hang around too much,” Vitale said. “I think we did ok. There’s always room for improvement. But we did fairly well.”
Head coach Robert Attonito is pleased with the victory but it has been the errors and crucial mistakes that have cost this veteran team in the playoffs in years past. He has preached to his team that as talented as they are, the Dolphins must not forget that the fundamentals will always be the most important key in winning ballgames.
An error on Samantha and the two drops there are just not that good.. Also, Jodi gets hit by the ball by running and Dez gets called out for leaving early at firstbase. It’s little things like that says are we tempting fate? Those are the kinds of things that keep them in the ballgame and stop us from getting ahead.”
They’ll have to curb their mistakes in a third round single elimination matchup on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. against John Bowne at Cunningham Park.
“We played well enough to win but we’re a much better team than we played,” Attonito said.