TUCKERS 24, BEARS 0 (5 INNINGS)
On a brutally cold day that was far from perfect, Lisa Angell came agonizingly close to perfection.
The Mattituck pitcher was on the verge of tossing a perfect game on Thursday. All that stood between Angel and perfection was Stony Brook’s Sydney Dunn.
With two outs in the top of the fifth inning, Angell had two strikes against Dunn and the prospect of a perfect game became a little more real for her. Up to that point, Stony Brook batters had stepped up to the plate 14 times and been retired 14 times. Then, as if being teased by the softball gods, the bid for a perfect game and a no-hitter was vaporized in the icy air with one swing of the bat. Dunn made contact with the ball, pounding a dribbler in front of home plate. The catcher, Rachel Voegel, darted forward, scooped up the ball and made a throw but was unable to catch Dunn.
Perfect game over. No-hitter over.
The next batter, Linea Piazza, grounded out, ending the Suffolk County League V game ended by virtue of the 12-run mercy rule. The Tuckers romped on their home field, 24-0, and Angell had a one-hit shutout.
“It killed me a little bit inside, a stab in the heart,” Angell said, “but it was O.K.”
A one-hitter — the first in Angell’s career — isn’t too shabby, either.
Mattituck coach Kelly Pickering said there was no discernible difference in Angell’s demeanor during the game. In keeping with tradition, she said, no one on the bench talked about the no-hit bid, although “we knew she had something special going.”
Throwing mostly fastballs, with some curveballs mixed in, Angell equalled her career high with nine strikeouts, three of them coming on called strikes. The junior right-hander struck out the side in the third inning. Stony Brook did not hit a ball into the outfield. Five outs by the Bears came on groundouts and another came on a popup to first baseman Ashley Perkins.
Pickering said Angell “had good control, especially with the cold weather. Sometimes she can be a little inconsistent but she kept it together today.”
Asked what Angell’s pitches were like, Voegel said, “They were definitely really good, nothing less than what I would have expected.”
Angell pitched a lot for the junior varsity team as a freshman. Last year she played mostly left field for the varsity team, pitching sporadically while Sara Perkins handled the bulk of the pitching. (Sara Perkins threw a no-hitter against Stony Brook last year). Now, with Sara Perkins having graduated, Angell is the team’s new No. 1 pitcher, and she said she likes her new role.
The bitter cold didn’t seem to bother Angell too much.
“After I got going, my adrenaline got going, it didn’t really affect me as much as I thought it would,” she said.
Angell maintained her focus despite the cold and despite long stretches on the bench while the Tuckers (2-1, 2-1) batted. The Tuckers had more than Angell’s velocity and control working for them. They had only four hits themselves, but then again, they really didn’t even need that many.
The game amounted to a walk in the park for the Tuckers — or, more precisely, 28 of them.
Stony Brook pitchers issued 28 walks. Twelve of those walks came in the first inning, setting up an 11-run inning. After the first six Mattituck batters drew bases on balls, Caralee Stevens supplied the biggest hit of the day, knocking a two-run single for one of only two hits during the rally, which saw the Tuckers make 16 plate appearances, the same number Stony Brook (0-2, 0-2) had for the game.
Stevens finished with four runs batted in. Perkins, Voegel, Angell and Marissa Sannino had two RBI each.
Angell, Sannino and Alyssa Scartozzi each walked four times. Chew, Val Hommel, Perkins and Voegel each drew three passes in a game that, Angell’s one-hitter aside, wasn’t particularly enthralling for the hearty spectators who braved the severe cold.
The walks, the freezing weather, the one-hitter. It all made for an interesting mix.
“It was definitely something new to experience,” said Voegel.
When it was over, Angell couldn’t help but rue what might have been.
“So close,” she said. She continued: “We came just shy of a perfect game, which is so rare, so I’m just happy. A one-hitter, that’s pretty good, too.”