Red & Black varsity softball squad showing serious signs of life early on...
While Old Man Winter continues wreaking havoc with this year's spring sports slate, the Honesdale softball team is quietly showing signs of a sizzling season to come.
The Lady Hornets started the season with a hard-luck 10-8 loss to Scranton High, but rebounded quickly to post a pair of electrifying wins at the expense of Western Wayne and East Stroudsburg South.
On the Field
On Thursday afternoon, the local lasses traveled to Varden for a battle with their cross-county rivals … and this one went right down to the wire.
The Red & Black rallied from a 6-2 deficit, scoring five times in the top of the sixth to take a one run lead. Coach Dave Patrisso's squad then weathered a furious Wildcat comeback bid and held on for a 7-6 decision.
“This team has such a great mentality,” he said.
“These girls never give up. They keep fighting their way back when they're down and that's a testament to all the hard work they've been putting in. They have a ton of heart.”
On the heels of this big win, Honesdale was back in action Saturday morning for a home game against non-league opponent ESS.
The Lady Hornets turned in a solid performance in front of an enthusiastic crowd, powering their way to a 7-5 victory.
“Another good win,” said Coach Patrisso. “I like what I'm seeing the last couple of games. Our girls are focused. They're just going out there and getting the job done.”
Weather permitting, the Red & Black will be back in action Wednesday for a key Lackawanna League game against North Pocono.
First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at the Daniel J. O'Neill Sports Complex.
Honesdale leapt out to an early lead on the road at Western Wayne.
The Lady Hornets tallied one run each in the first and second innings.
Brooke Gardas ignited the offense in the opening frame, ripping a double and then scampering home via a Sadie Wood RBI single.
The Red & Black made it 2-0 in the second when Kaitlyn Price led off with a booming triple. She trotted in moments later courtesy of an Alexa Jones sacrifice fly.
To their credit, Western Wayne came surging back to take the lead. Veteran coach Joe Romanowski has put together a talented young team, one that will undoubtedly surprise some folks this season.
Makenzie Rose led the way for the Lady 'Cats.
A sophomore who bats in the lead-off spot and pitches, Rose reached base three times. Her biggest blow of the game came in a four-run fourth when she hammered an RBI triple.
Senior third baseman Vaeda Pontosky was right in the middle of things offensively as well. The veteran slugger battled her way aboard twice in the fourth and fifth, eventually tallying a pair of runs.
Fellow senior Hannah Roedel contributed several key plays as well. The fleet-footed second sacker went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Trailing by four in the top of the sixth, it was Honesdale's turn for the bats to come alive. The Lady Hornets erupted for five runs to take the lead for good.
And, it was an unheralded freshman who provided the spark. Gina Dell'Aquila came off the bench and delivered the biggest blow of the year thus far.
“I had a gut feeling about Gina before the game even started,” Coach Patrisso said. “I had it in my head that if we needed a big hit in a big spot, I'm was going to get Gina up there and give her a chance.”
Dell'Aquila made the most of that opportunity, crushing the first pitch she saw high over the wall in left for a solo homer.
“That ball cleared the fence by at least 30 or 40 feet,” Coach Patrisso said. “It was an absolute shot. Gina has some serious power. She's a kid you'll be hearing an awful lot about in the next few years.”
Honesdale seemed to feed off the energy Dell'Aquila's homer generated. The Red & Black surged in front and never looked back en route to the win.
Price paced all batters, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Megan Rembish chipped in with a pair of safeties, while West, Gardas, Daub and Wood each added basehits.
Lesek went the distance and earned the pitching decision. Jami worked seven innings, scattered 10 hits, struck out nine and issued four walks.
Rose also twirled a complete game, fanning six and walking just one.
Coach Patrisso sent two of his younger pitchers to the circle Saturday against East Stroudsburg South, hoping to get them some innings and experience.
Julianna Decker drew the starting nod and pitched four solid innings before handing the ball off to Natalee West, who worked into the seventh.
Then with the game on the line, Honesdale turned to its ace, Jami Lesek, to close things out in the top of the seventh.
“I'm very pleased with how those two girls did,” Coach Patrisso said of his junior and sophomore.
“Julianna and Natalee both went out there and threw strikes. They got ahead of batters and kept them off balance for the most part.”
Offensively, Kaitlyn Price led the Red & Black attack. A battle-tested junior outfielder, Price banged out two hits, scored a run and drove in a pair.
“Kaitlyn seems to be finding her groove at the plate,” Coach Patrisso said. “We moved her down in the order a little bit and she's seeing better pitches now. Kaitlyn is driving the ball all over the place.”
Rachel Daub has been something of a revelation at the top of the order. Just a freshman, the Lady Hornet lead-off hitter has been splitting time at catcher and corner outfield positions.
“The thing I like best about Rachel is that she'll do whatever it takes to get on base,” Coach Patrisso said. “She's our table-setter, getting on ahead of our bigger power hitters.”
Daub reached base three times versus the Cavaliers, slapping two singles and working a walk.
Wood and Rembish also contributed a pair of basehits, each roping a single and double.