By DOUG SMITH
Niagara Gazette — The jury wasn’t out long on the case of Niagara Falls softball Wednesday. Eleven of the first 14 Wolverine batters reached base safely, most on first-pitch line drives, for an 11-0 conviction of Grand Island in the Vikings’ venue.
Falls Coach Martha Amoretti said that while the game between the Niagara Frontier League’s two top teams “certainly wasn’t what I expected, it’s the way we expect our team to play every time.”
What’s come around, she said, since Falls’ earlier 5-3 squeaker past GI, is the “top to bottom hitting. We’d have games with no hits from the last four in the lineup. Not today. Everybody’s focused.”
Pitcher Jasmine Petrishin took a perfect game into the fourth inning, finishing with a two-hitter, four strikeouts. Even in conditions so rainy that many fans defended their “do’s” in their hatchbacks, fielding was fine, one error for Niagara Falls, none for Grand Island.
It was oozing pretty good at the cry of “play ball,” and Stephanie Bielec coaxed a walk. Amanda Boyle and Toni Polk singled, Jerri Ann Orfano swatted an RBI grounder, Jenn Marshall walked and pitcher Petrishin unloaded a triple to right, then shut down the Vikings 1-2-3.
After Alexis Aughman tripled to lead off the second, the Wolverines rifled five hits on nine pitches before Nicole Perrano grounded out – again, for RBI, the ninth.
Then, like a sudden shower, it stopped. Falls didn’t score again until Polk’s homer in the sixth, a deft slap past a hard-charging left fielder on the open range. Falls had 17 hits in all, but pitcher Alley Cutting never backed down and handled the last three outs herself.
Jessy Amsdill and Ashley Colan hit safely for GI. “We took turns trying to pep each other up,” Coach Sheryl O’Conner said, “but that’s a lot to come back from.” Left fielder Anne Corrao made an outstanding catch in the fourth, turning on a drive over her head and plucking it out of the precipitation.
As both sides tracked tweets of the West-Wheatfield game and more rain arrived, Grand Island’s girls handed out cupcakes to their opponents, a birthday treat. The icing looked like softballs. Six innings earlier, the Wolverines might have hit them all out of the park.
Jasmine Petrishin pitched a two-hitter and the Wolverines pounded out 17 hits, four by Toni Polk and three by Amanda Boyle in a game that was basically over before four were out. Eleven of the first 14 Falls batters reached base safely in persistent showers on Grand Island. League-leading Falls improved to 10-1, Grand Island slipped to 8-3 and out of second place.