Bronx Science coach Tom Morris got what he asked for.
“We needed someone to have a warrior-like performance today,” he said.
That’s what he received from ace Ava Cutler.
The junior allowed just five hits over nine innings in the second of a back-to-back against Lehman. The Wolverines held off the host Lions 6-4, despite Lehman threatening their lead on multiple occasions, in PSAL Bronx A softball on April 14.
Bronx Science (5-1) was coming off a 13-8 victory over Lehman (3-3) the previous day. However, that was a much different outing, one in which the Wolverines exploded for seven first inning runs.
“It was definitely tougher [today],” Morris said. “If we had an off day, we could’ve prepared for this type of pitching. I give them credit. They play to their strengths. [Lehman coach Anthony Schmerler] wants teams to pop it up and hit to their outfielders and that’s what we did.”
Their second meeting was less about offense and much more about pitching. Cutler would get into a groove in the second inning, striking out the side after a lead off walk. She finished the game with seven strikeouts and only allowed two earned runs in nine innings pitched for the division leading Wolverines.
“It really wasn’t going the way I was expecting it to go,” Cutler said, “Then I got a feel for the game, got a feel for the ump and got a feel for the batters. We really just stuck together as a team and got through it.”
Anna Leidner, who pitched the prior game, came up big once again. The sophomore shortstop hit an inside the park homer in the fifth with a full count and would later delivered a sacrifice fly in the top of ninth to help secure the win. She went 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.
“I wanted to get a lot more aggressive on the field and at the plate,” Leidner said.
The second-place Lions received big contributions from seniors Ashley Goldman and Angel Quiones in the fifth and sixth innings, helping erase a 3-0 deficit. The young players then stepped up, as sophomore Nirvana Blake and junior Lauren Rodriguez both batted in a run to tie the score at 3-3 in the top of the sixth.
Lehman continued to battle in the seventh, forcing Morris to visit Cutler in the circle. Morris calmed her down by remind her that she had already gotten all of upcoming hitters out already and she could do it again. Cutler also remember that her 6-foot frame can leave batters intimidated in her opinion
“I like that it makes me stand out,” said Cutler of her height in the circle. “I do think sometimes [batters] get up there and they’re feeling a little antsier and agitated over it.”
The Wolverines played the second game without senior Alexa Magsuci, who had three hits and three RBI in the first meeting. Thus contributions from Leidner, junior Helen Black and sophomore Alexa Asch were vital late in the game.
The Wolverines scored two runs in the top half of the inning. Cutler would then go on to throw a perfect frame in the bottom half to finally quell the Lions.
“It was a good win,” Morris said. “There were a lot of times when it didn’t seem like it was going to happen but they put the foot down and got it done.”