Last week, the St. John’s softball team put up a strong fight against the 2002 Northeast Conference champions, the Long Island University Blackbirds.
The Red Storm split the double-header, losing the first game, 4-2, and taking the second game, 5-0.
In the first game, the Red Storm attacked offensively, scoring two runs in the top of the third inning. Junior Jessica Cameron led off the inning with a line drive past the third baseman and junior Alesha Argeras, who has been a major contributor throughout the second half of the season, moved Cameron to second with a sacrifice bunt.
“Alesha is a major asset to our team,” said Head Coach Melody Cope. “She started off slow in the beginning in the season, so her overall numbers do not show her success. But during the second half of the season she has stepped up and has been a major contributor.”
Up came Argeras’ Ohio counterpart, Jessica Shepherd, who followed with a hit to deep left center to score Cameron. With Shepherd on second, senior Tiffany Howerton hit an RBI single. But even with the hot bats, the Red Storm’s defense was shaky, committing two errors, which led to runs for the Blackbirds.
“In the first game, it was not that we weren’t hitting the ball,” said Cope. “It was our defensive miscues. We had a sloppy defensive game.”
The breakdown came in the bottom of the third, when the Blackbird’s Leah Sanchez hit a home run over the right field wall. Then Sayde Marzolf reached on a throwing error by Red Storm freshman pitcher Meghan Allman; she then proceeded to steal second, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Rosette Rough reached on a throwing error by Shepherd and Marzolf scored.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Blackbirds took a 4-2 lead, which would be enough for the win, coming on a two RBI hit by the Blackbird pitcher.
The Red Storm regrouped for the second game and came out with its bats swinging.
In the top of the fourth, freshman Jillian Sandoval singled to left. Senior Kelly Houghton followed with an infield hit. Then freshman Allina Sainz ripped a double into left center scoring both runners, giving the Red Storm a 2-0 lead.
The Red Storm then scored insurance runs, starting in the fifth when Cameron led off the inning with a hit and Argeras followed by drawing a walk. Shepherd then smacked a ground ball to the Blackbird’s shortstop who bobbled the ball and allowed the bases to be loaded. Then came Sandoval, who drew a walk allowing Cameron to score.
In the seventh inning, the Red Storm extended its lead when senior Amy Crook smashed a double to the center field wall. Cameron advanced Crook to third by grounding out and again, Argeras contributed offensively, hitting a shot over the left fielder’s head for an RBI double. After a sac bunt by Shepherd, Argeras scored the final run on a wild pitch.
“Our heads were in a different place in the second game,” said Cope. “We wanted to forget about our defensive errors in the first game and play better overall.”