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Saratoga Vs. Bethlehem

Varsity vs Bethlehem Central HS on 4/14/2011 4:15:00 PM
Posted Thursday, April 28, 2011 by Stan Hudy

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SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Springs softball team was excited to finally have the opportunity to play its home opener Thursday afternoon behind the high school. The problem is that they may have been too excited, struggling at the plate against Bethlehem Central and suffering a 4-0 Suburban Council loss.

The Blue Streaks (0-3 overall) managed just three hits on the afternoon. Eagles pitcher Meagan Sullivan had a fairly easy outing, retiring the Streaks in order in three innings and allowing only four batters up three other times.

“Today we were a little anxious and weren’t getting on base and making things happen,” Saratoga Springs coach Laura Cuthbertson said. “Our last two games we were making solid contact, but directly at people.”

Junior short stop Makaylee Dowd, senior catcher Meagan Fleming and junior third baseman Morgan Cahill were the only three Blue Streak batters to get the ball past the Bethlehem defense.

“The snow held us up and we’ll play ourselves out of that,” Cuthbertson said. “Everyone faced that, but we were up in the (Adirondack) Dome for two scrimmages and didn’t see dirt until we faced Shaker (season opener).”

Meanwhile, Bethlehem (3-1 overall) used timely hitting in three different innings against Saratoga senior starter Emily Fleming.

Sophomore Mikayla Shade got the Eagles on the board with her triple to lead off the third inning and scored on a throwing error to first. Junior Smaldone led off the fourth with a single down the left field line and was lifted for a

courtesy runner, Jessie Fleck. She advanced on a sacrifice bunt, stole third and scored on junior Morgan Mazzone’s RBI single up the middle.

The Eagles put a pair of runs across in the seventh, taking advantage of two walks and a wild pitch by Fleming.

“They are a hitting team, they are a hitting machine,” Fleming said. “My defense was there today to keep us in it.”

Fleming dealt with the elements, a blustery afternoon in the circle, warming up as the game progressed.

“Emily does well as the game goes on,” Cuthbertson said. “She gets stronger and she throws a little harder.”

Fleming, like all softball pitchers are adjusting to the pitching rubber being moved back three feet to its current distance of 43 feet.

“I pitch from 43 feet in travel, so I’m used to it,” Fleming said. “For the hitters it lets them see the ball longer.”

As one of the senior leaders on the Blue Streaks, Fleming expects the offense to pick up with more afternoon contests.

“We haven’t seen a lot of outside live hitting,” Fleming said. “It’s so different hitting against a machine, the pitcher’s wind-up and how the ball comes out of their hand can mess you up. The 43-feet should help with that, it gives you more time.”

Despite the 0-3 season, first-year coach Culbertson isn’t about to let panic set in.

“Our goals are simple,” Cuthbertson said. “Sixty-feet, turn left, go 60-feet, turn left, go 60-feet, turn left, go 60-feet and score.

“As long as they work as a team and stay together they’ll be fine,” Cuthbertson said. “They’re will to hit the ball is strong and we’ll pull it together.”

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