All it takes is one big hit to get things going for Preston. The Panthers appeared to be wrapped in another close affair early with rival Cardinal Spellman, leading by a run heading into the fourth. Then Ashley Weiderhold doubled to the gap in left-center field to lead off the inning. Preston rolled from there.
“It seems like if one girl leads off with a nice hit, everybody else follows,” said Preston assistant Jen Martin, who took over for head coach Rachel Mazza, who had a family obligation.
Preston made her job easy, pounding out five of its 11 hits and scoring six times in the inning to roll to a 7-2 victory over host Spellman in CHSAA Bronx/Westchester softball Saturday afternoon. It was the second straight game, the other a 15-2 win against Good Counsel Friday, which saw their bats rounding into form. It is also the Panthers’ second win over Spellman this week, improving them to 5-0 in the league.
“Our defense is always there,” said Sara Cavigliano, who was 1-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored. “Our bats sometimes aren’t alive, but they are coming alive now.”
Megan Burke singled to left center off Spellman freshman pitcher Tiffany Rodon after Weiderhold’s double to start the fourth. A bunt by Leann Cerbone brought home Weiderhold. Starter Devyn Abbate, who would later score on a wild pitch, singled to right center to score Burke to make it 3-0. Nicole Cavigliano, Sara’s younger sister, stroked a two-run single down the left-field line to extend the lead to 7-0 for the Panthers, who opened the scoring when Sara Cavigliano scored on a wild pitch in the third. Sophomore Laura Montalto was 2-for-4 with a long double to left-center field in the third.
“Once we get into a groove, we all start cheering for each other and we start doing well together,” Weiderhold said.
Spellman (4-3) got on the board in the bottom of the fifth. Monica Muffoletto ripped a one-out double to center field and Linda McCaffrey brought her home with a two-out double to right. Kimberly Biolsi then followed with an RBI double over the leftfielder’s head to score McCaffrey to make it 7-2. The Cardinals almost got things going again in the sixth when freshman Victoria Quinones sent one down the left-field line, but she was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. Abbate again was strong, allowing just the two runs on four hits, striking out 11 and walking none.
“They are an experienced team with an experienced pitcher,” Cardinal Spellman coach Dan Crane said. “They don’t have a weak spot on the field.”
Preston, which won the division last season, finished the week, which also included a win over Our Lady of Victory, a perfect 4-0 and are again establishing itself as the team to beat.
“The teams that are our big competition,” Weiderhold said, “are looking out for us now.”