Settlers show plenty of spirit despite tough season

When Lilly Corwin was asked to describe her day with the Southold/Mattituck/Greenport softball team on Monday, she replied, “Surprising.”

“It was good, though,” the junior added. “It was fun.”

And quite busy as well. Corwin had the Settlers’ (2-12, 2-12) lone hit in their 12-0 loss at Shoreham-Wading River High School. She also produced three fine catches in left field, and finished off the afternoon behind the plate for the final inning of the Suffolk County League VIII game.

Corwin was pressed into service when starting catcher Chloe Manwaring left the game due to a previous commitment to attend a competitive cheerleading practice.

“It didn’t surprise me one bit when Lilly told me she’d suit up and get behind the plate,” head coach Amanda Graziano said. “That’s just who Lilly is. In times of need, she’s one of the first to step up and volunteer to help out her team.”

Corwin, who had caught one previous game, moved behind the plate as third baseman Brienna McFarland came on in relief of starter Kelsey Newman in the bottom of the fifth.

“I volunteered the first time and then our backup catcher wasn’t here today,” Corwin said. “So it was me just because I did it the last time … I enjoyed it.”

Still, there were some challenges dealing with high and low pitches.

“Just getting the balls that are on the ground and being able to get up quick to be able to throw it,” Corwin said. “I had a lot to think about at once.”

Corwin’s previous experience was when she caught six innings in the Settlers’ 12-0 loss at Bayport-Blue Point on April 15.

“During that game coach Alexis Reed and I jokingly called her a ‘wall’ and honestly, she was just that,” Graziano said. “For never catching a game, she looked like she’s been doing it for a while. Today, she did great as well.

“She is such a hard-working athlete that even through stress, like being thrown behind the plate even though she’s not a catcher, she keeps her composure and continues to want to strive to be her best.”

Added McFarland: “I thought she did good for her lack of experience. She’s definitely quite the athlete.”

High praise from someone who led the basketball team into the county Class B final while averaging 14.6 points a game. Corwin averaged 8.1 ppg.

The Wildcats (7-5, 7-5), who need three more wins to clinch a Class A playoff berth, plated a run in the first, added 3 in the second, 5 in the third, 1 in the fourth and 2 in the fifth. When Corwin’s passed ball resulted in SWR scoring the 12th run with Emmalee Ruta at bat with two outs in the fifth, the game was called due to the mercy rule.

“On a passed ball, I see the frustration, but then she has that drive to want to try harder the next time,” Graziano said. “As a coach, she’s everything you look for in an athlete. She has a competitive spirit, she’s highly motivated, she takes criticism and uses it to make herself better, and she’s a natural leader.”

And a player of many positions.

“Lilly has been all over the field for us this year,” said Graziano, who added that when her regular pitchers got hurt, Lilly and McFarland stepped up and learned how to pitch. “She also plays third base, outfield, and now catches, too. She’s a natural athlete. I could put Lilly anywhere on the field and feel confident that she’d do a great job.”

First baseman Kelsey Hughes drove in 3 runs for SWR with a 2-run single and a sacrifice fly, while third baseman Katie Lahey added 2 RBIs. Starting pitcher Erin Cahill helped her cause with a 2-run single. Cahill (6-4) allowed 1 hit, walked 1, hit 2 batters and struck out 8.

Despite the score, the Settlers showed plenty of spirit on the bench, chirping away for their hitters.

“That just comes from our desire to have some fun even though the scoreboard doesn’t really say what we wanted it to say,” McFarland said. “We still want to make the best of it.”