Honesdale girls look sharp in win over perennial powerhouse Valley View

Dave Patrisso has achieved many milestones over the course of his 15 years with Honesdale softball.

One thing that’s always eluded him, though, is a victory over perennial Lackawanna League powerhouse Valley View.

On Thursday evening, Coach Patrisso finally checked that box on his diamond resume.

Led by the power pitching of Marissa Gregory and the explosive hitting of Brooke Gardas, the Lady Hornets defeated Valley View by a score of 5-2.

“This was a fantastic win,” an elated Coach Patrisso said afterward. “I’m so happy for our girls. They played really well in all phases of the game.”

With this win, Honesdale improved its overall record to 2-1 in league action.

Weather permitting, the Red & Black will be back on the diamond this weekend at Wyoming Area.

First pitch is set for 11 a.m. Saturday in Exeter.

In the Circle

Gregory may still be a freshman, but on Thursday she pitched like a battle-tested varsity veteran.

Marissa turned in a solid effort in her previous start against Scranton Prep, but was saddled with a hard-luck loss.

This time out, however, she took her game to an entirely new level. The fireballing righty dominated Valley View en route to a brilliant complete game

“Marissa was outstanding,” Coach Patrisso said. “She went right after them and never let up.”

Gregory used a potent mix of fastballs and change-ups to keep Cougar batters off-balance all afternoon. She went seven innings, piled up 11 strikeouts and allowed only six basehits

“Marissa is such a gutsy kid,” Coach Patrisso said. “She’s like a bulldog out there. She has a lot of confidence and isn’t afraid of anyone.”

Adjustments

The Honesdale staff wasn’t at all pleased with the quality of defense they’d been seeing of late.

The Lady Hornets had struggled mightily in back-to-back losses to Stroudsburg and Prep, committing an eye-popping 13 errors in those two games.

And so, Coach Patrisso decided to make several radical changes for Thursday’s game and they definitely paid off.

“I thought that we needed to shake things up a little bit,” he said. “We needed to get some of our girls back into positions where they were more comfortable.”

With that in mind, Sadie Wood resumed her catching duties. Gina Dell’Aquila moved over to shortstop, while Alexa Jones shifted from third base to first.

All of these girls handled their new roles flawlessly. Additionally, Natalee West made several dazzling plays in left field.

“It was a huge improvement,” Coach Patrisso said. “We asked each of those kids to to step up and they really did.”

Honesdale committed just one fielding miscue against Valley View and did not surrender any unearned runs.

At the Plate

The Red & Black nicked Cougar starter Alyssa Marion for one run in the top of the second inning.

They then erupted for four more in the third.

Brooke Gardas provided the power. The senior second sacker crushed a towering two-run homer to left that pushed Honesdale’s lead to 3-0.

Dell’Aquila contributed a two run double, while Rachel Daub chipped in with an RBI single.

Kaitlin Price continued her torrid hitting with a 2-for-4 performance. Wood slapped two hits as well, as did Dell’Aquila.

“We hit the ball hard all up and down the order,” Coach Patrisso said. “The girls attacked the ball. They really put together some excellent at-bats.”

Valley View trailed 5-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh, but finally broke through with two runs. However, Gregory bore down and put the finishing touches on a complete game gem.

It was a signature victory for a Lady Hornet squad with its eyes on a division title and a deep playoff run.

“This was such a big win for us,” said Coach Patrisso. “Valley View is a very good team. I told the girls during our post game talk that we need to use this as a springboard going forward.”