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Softball: Osler’s 3-hitter helps Tuckers start busy spell on right foot

Mattituck softball player Ashley Chew 033116

It was the start of a busy spell for the Mattituck High School softball team, and the Tuckers didn’t wait long to get busy.

Playing the first of five games over a six-day period starting on Thursday against North Fork rival Southold/Greenport, Mattituck saw three of its first four batters deliver singles, setting up a three-run inning.

Southold/Greenport retaliated with two runs of its own in the bottom half of the first inning with the aid of two hits. Those were the only hits Mattituck pitcher Madison Osler allowed until she conceded a third in the seventh before closing out a 5-2 victory at Southold High School for the team’s first win from three Suffolk County League VII games.

How important is it to get that first win?

“It’s huge,” Mattituck coach Kim Gerstung said. “It’s good for morale.”

It also had to be good for Mattituck’s morale to see the way it came out swinging. Ashley Chew and Alexis Burns started the game by spraying singles to center field. Jaden Thompson reached base on a dropped fly ball to bring in the first run before Ashley Perkins’ infield single scored the second. A groundout by Rachel Voegel made it 3-0.

“It’s always the first inning,” said Southold coach Jessica Fleury, who noted that her team’s first two losses could also be attributed to runs allowed in the first inning.

Southold’s first two batters, Toni Esposito and Ashley Hilary, reached base on a single and a walk. They later both scored when Evelyn Cummings squeezed a single under an infielder’s glove.

But that was the last hit Osler surrendered until Hilary landed a one-out single in the seventh.

Osler walked seven and struck out three.

“She walked a few, but she did not give up,” Gerstung said. “She didn’t get down on herself.”

Mattituck gave Osler some more breathing room. Grace Izzo, who led off the second with a single, was brought home on Thompson’s two-out hit.

Izzo also played a role in making it 5-2 in the fifth. Consecutive fielding errors and a well-executed bunt single by Jaime Gaffga loaded the bases for Izzo, who knocked in a run on a groundout.

“I think we’re coming along really good,” Perkins said. “The little mistakes we had in the beginning of the season, they’re gone by now.”

Southold (1-3, 1-3) had a chance to put up more runs in the sixth when Cummings, Rosemary Volinski and Mercedes Edwards drew walks to load the bases, but Osler escaped by getting Elizabeth Clark to bounce a grounder back to her for the third out.

The Clippers left nine runners on base and hit 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position. It was their third game in three days.

Mattituck, meanwhile, is looking at games against Port Jefferson on Friday, Pierson/Bridgehampton on Saturday, Babylon on Monday and Shelter Island on Tuesday. The Shelter Island game is the only one on the road.

When the subject of the congested schedule was raised, Gerstung said: “That’s fine. We’re up for the challenge.”

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Photo caption: Mattituck shortstop Ashley Chew receives a throw before tagging out Southold/Greenport’s Toni Esposito, who tried to steal second base. Second baseman Grace Izzo backed up the play. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)