Errors, TMLA bats ground Eagles in opener

It certainly wasn’t the start St. Edmund hoped for to a season filled with promise.

The Eagles had to play their CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens softball opener without cleanup hitter and catcher Casey Sclafani, who was on vacation, starter Emma Ferrington was hit hard and their defense didn’t provide much support behind her in a 12-5 loss to Mary Louis on Thursday afternoon at Cunningham Park.

“We were fired up in the beginning,” sophomore Janelle Garvey said. “We have been practicing so hard. We knew we can do it. We knew we are better than this team, but it was just the first game. We made a couple of errors. We have to pick ourselves up. Emma pitched an awesome game. We just didn’t back her up.”

Garvey’s RBI single highlighted a three-run first inning that saw the Eagles wait out the wildness of Mary Louis pitcher Rebecca Warne, who allowed just one hit after the second inning. The Hilltoppers tied the score in the bottom of the inning. Garvey, who was 2-for-4, doubled in a run in the top of the second, but TMLA scored five times in its half to take an 8-4 lead. St. Edmund committed three errors in the frame and saw its young outfield struggle at times.

“Anytime you let routine balls tell you what to do instead of you telling them what to do, you are going to pay for it,” Eagles coach Rowena Motylewski said.

Mary Louis broke the game open in the third with a three-run double from third baseman Shannon Minihane, who was 3-for-4 with five RBIs, to extend the lead to 11-5. Ferrington, who allowed eight earned runs on 12 hits, drove in the other Eagles run in the top of the inning.

Motylewski felt her team wasn’t as smart as it should have been at the plate. It got two men on in the sixth and had the bases loaded with one out in the seventh, but saw Minihane end both by turning double plays, including a diving stop and throw in the final frame.

“It was a really good catch,” said Ferrington, who hit the line drive. “I wasn’t expecting it at all.

Motylewski didn’t want to use Sclafani’s absence as an excuse, but removing your cleanup hitter with power is a big loss. It also causes Cassandra Molinari, usually a shortstop to move to catcher and Garvey to go from third to short and weakens the Eagles defense.

“She is a very big part of the team,” Garvey said. “If we had her I guarantee we would have won. She is one of the three best hitters on the team.”

The Eagles want to learn from the “silly mistakes” as Ferrington called them as they move forward.

“Hopefully we will do better next time,” she said. “Because we were just a mess today.”