Coming into the season with a new coach and several new players in the lineup, it would not have surprised anyone to see Clinton struggle this season. But a 13-10 victory over Stuyvesant on Friday, May 2, puts the Lady Governors at 11-1 on the year and in first place in the A Division, right where they were last year with the playoffs right around the corner.
“We have a strong young team,” said Richard Eaton, the former JV coach who took over after Daniel Smith stepped down to deal with personal matters.
“It was easy for me to step in, because I have 10 girls from last year’s JV team playing for me,” Eaton continued. “It also doesn’t hurt to have one of the best players in the City.”
Eaton is talking about Jazcelyn Pagan (3-for-4, 3 R, 3 RBI’s, 1 2B), who immediately got the Lady Governors off the ground with a home run during an 8-run rally in the 1st inning.
After Stuyvesant scored 7 runs over the next two innings, knocking Teresa Ventura (1.2 IP, 3 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 6 BB, 3 K’s) out of the box, to pull within 1 run, Pagan would again help Clinton pull ahead, roping a double into center field to drive home a run, and scoring on a wild pitch to give Clinton an 11-7 lead.
Pagan, who showed off an amazing fielding performance with a double play to stop a rally in the 3rd inning, would also play the hero role from the mound in the final inning of play.
With battery mate, Kassandra Leidermer, making calls from behind the plate, Pagan picked up the final three outs of the game in relief of Ashley Rodriguez (2.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R). It was Pagan’s first time pitching in over two weeks.
“My main pitcher failed off,” said Eaton. “We’ve been trying to find a starter. In the meantime, Jazcelyn has always been a consistent closer when we’ve needed her.”
For Pagan, the time between trips to the mound was not a factor. “I’ve been pitching for so long, it wasn’t hard to get back into it once I warmed up,” she said, with Leidermer by her side.
Pagan is also not phased by the change in coaching staff. “It was a little tricky at first, but that’s because we were not used to certain routines,” she said. “But we learned from [Eaton], he learned from us. There was a compromise. We worked off of one another’s strengths and I think we are a better team.”
Clinton is now looking to avenge their only regular season loss to Lehman. The two meet on Monday, May 12 and Pagan’s teammate, Leidermer, can only see a win in their future.
“They are not taking this game from us,” she said. “We will die before we let that happen.”
As for the playoffs, Leidermer and Pagan are equally confident about their team’s chances. “We want Bayside,” Pagan said. “We have lost to them for two straight years. We shouldn’t have lost to them last year.”
Added Leidermer: “If we play with our hearts, I have no doubt that we can beat them and eventually win the championship.”
©2008 Community News Group