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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 6, 2010

Lady Dutch softball looking for run support

By Jordan J. Michael

GUILDERLAND –– The Lady Dutch softball team is having trouble scoring runs this season.

The frustration reached a climax on Monday with a 6-to-0 home loss to Niskayuna. Guilderland had a handful of chances to score, including an opportunity with the bases loaded and no one out in the fourth inning.

Silver Warriors’ pitcher Ali Frary got Danielle Heath to ground into a double play and struck out Kelsey Wood to end the scoring threat. The Lady Dutch bats went silent after the fourth inning and Head Coach Beth Ray was searching for answers after the game.

“Look at our record this season; we don’t score much,” Ray said, pointing at a sheet of paper with all the scores from this year. The team is now 4-6 in the Suburban Council. “We’re getting less at bats and we’re not getting on base that often. They’re trying really hard, though,” she said of her players.

Guilderland had its pitching ace, senior Jess Sabburo, on the mound for Monday’s game. Sabburo has been throwing well all season, but the team hasn’t been backing her up with runs.

“It’s been a frustrating season, but we can’t start pointing fingers,” said Sabburo, who held powerhouse Shenendehowa to only two runs in an earlier outing. “We’re all in this together. I gave up six runs today.”

Sabburo is small for a pitcher, but has worked hard over the past year, lifting weights and practicing pitch movement. Her curveball had a wide break against the Niskayuna batters.

“She’s getting a lot of strikeouts, but the run support just isn’t there,” Ray said of Sabburo. “She doesn’t bat, so she can’t help put up runs. It’s not a great situation.”

“Things will get better once we start scoring more,” added Sabburo.

Wood could have given the Lady Dutch a lead in the first inning off a hit by Jessi Peck to left field, but Wood hesitated at third base and got thrown out at home for the third out. Heath singled in the second inning and reached second base on a past ball, but unwise base running on a ground ball led to another costly out.

“We need to be smart on the bases,” Sabburo said. “We should work on running with instinct instead of holding back.”

Ray told The Enterprise that it’s “hard to second guess my players because they have to commit to my ideas.” The hitters who have the best on-base percentage for the team aren’t the fastest runners. “We won’t always be safe,” she said.

Sabburo was having quick innings on Monday until the fifth when the Silver Warriors’ batters started getting a hold of some pitches. Jackie Tomisman, Kaley O’Brien, and Emily O’Donnell strung together consecutive hits to load the bases with one out.

Tomisman and O’Brien both scored on past balls to make it 2 to 0, and the third run was scored during a confusing sequence. Serena Moroukian hit a laser to right field, but Wood made a great catch and tried to double up the runner. The throw to first base was bad and O’Donnell scored.

“I felt like the umpire’s strike zone got smaller as the game progressed,” said Sabburo. “But, I was losing some control because I wasn’t following through with my back foot.”

Tomisman hit a double off Sabburo in the top of the sixth inning that scored Kiersten Gray to give Niskayuna a 4-to-0 lead. Sabburo gave up two more runs in the seventh inning, but pitched a complete game.

“Our energy took a dive after they established a lead,” said Ray. “It’s a huge frustration when you can’t score a run. It hurts the overall mentality of the team.”

“They scored and we didn’t have any answers,” Sabburo said. “It’s tough.”

Ray said that the Lady Dutch have had issues with hitting when people are on base. The team has combated that with some work on the short game. In a 9-to-6 win over Averill Park, the team mustered runs with a lot of bunts.

“We’re struggling right now, but we’re not out of the running,” Ray said. “We just need to stop putting up zeros.”

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