With 4 dropped third strikes, 8 errors, Tuckers drop a game

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck's Courtney Ficner was thrown out at third base in the third inning when she tried to advance a base on a dropped popup.

The Southampton Mariners faced a tough pitcher in Sara Perkins of the Mattituck Tuckers, not to mention a wall of wind that held up any softballs that were hit in the air to the outfield. But that didn’t matter. It didn’t stop Southampton from banging out nine hits in a 7-3 victory on Saturday.

“It was interesting, to say the least, but we played through it,” Southampton catcher Tara Watson said after the Suffolk County League VII game that was played in bitter cold at Mattituck High School. “You don’t really try and think about it too much. We try and think about it as a factor, but you don’t let it affect your game.”

The Mariners (2-1 overall and in League VII) didn’t.

Of course, they got some help along the way. The young Mattituck team made eight errors, including four in the first inning. Perkins recorded 10 strikeouts and two walks. On four of those strikeouts, the batters reached base on a dropped third strike, and two of them went on to score.

“That’s a killer,” said Mattituck’s new coach, Rick Hinrichs.

Three of Southampton’s runs were unearned. With a young team like Mattituck (1-3, 0-3), which has only two seniors, Jessica Boomer and Lilly McCullough, things like that are going to happen sometimes.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck pitcher Sara Perkins fired 10 strikeouts, but Southampton batters reached base on four of them because of passed balls.

“We all go out with high hopes for winning the game and just try our best,” Mattituck third baseman Kaitlin Perino said. “It feels good to play a good game, but we do make some errors. You just got to keep your head up.”

Not that it is an excuse for the mistakes the Tuckers made on Saturday, but they are playing with a lot of sophomores and juniors.

Southampton, meanwhile, could catch opponents by surprise this season, and that’s just how Coach Virginia McGovern would like it. “I want to be the one that’s quietly sneaking up from behind. I don’t want anyone to know too much about us,” she said. “It’s kind of like the Mets. We’re coming in with low expectations. Nobody’s expecting much out of us.”

This much is for sure, though, the Mariners know what to do with a bat in their hands.

Watson smoked the game’s first pitch for a single beyond center fielder Alex Chowbay’s reach for a double. The next batter, Caroline Rumph, knocked Watson home by lining a single off the tip of shortstop Jackie Hinrichs’ glove.

That ignited Southampton’s four-run first inning. More damage might have been done had Mattituck second baseman Melissa Siegfried not thrown Korrina Fengler out at home plate on a fielder’s choice.

Although the Tuckers had nine hits themselves and pulled to within 4-3 in the second, they could never catch up to the Mariners.

Southampton, which stole six bases, received two hits apiece from Fengler and Watson, who also had two stolen bags. Another Southampton player, Noelle Crough, knocked in a pair of runs.

“We’ve got power,” Watson said. “We’ve got good contact hitters, too. It’s awesome. We can get runners on base and just bunt them over. It’s nice. We’ll get them into scoring position.”

Ellie Curreri struck out five, did not allow a walk, but hit three batters as she brought her pitching record to 2-0 with the complete-game win.

Siegfried, McCullough and Perino each had two hits for Mattituck. But sloppy defense was Mattituck’s problem on Saturday.

“We definitely need to work on our defense,” Perino said. “It will definitely come. It’s a work in progress.”

Coach Hinrichs said the Tuckers will address their fielding in practice and improve.

“They’re better than we thought they’ve played so far. They know it,” he said. “They know they have to put together a game. We’ve had tremendous defense and no hitting. We’ve had great defense, great pitching and a problem behind the plate. We haven’t put it all together yet, and we will.”

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