Rye Neck Softball
Panthers Pounce on Tuckahoe 4-1
By Mitch Silver
Days after dropping their season-opener to defending State Champ Ardsley 14-6, Coach Joan Spedafino’s Rye Neck Softball squad returned to the Hornidge Road field on a blustery, early May Day. And for three innings, they couldn’t get the ball out of the infield.
Meanwhile, the visitors bunched a one-out single and a walk with a pair of stolen bases in the second inning to put runners on 2nd and 3rd. But fire-balling sophomore Katie Blanch pitched her way out of trouble for the Panthers, striking out one and getting a weak dribbler to first base.
Neither team scored in the third, But Tuckahoe got a one-out single past first in the fourth, followed by a wallop that carried over the right fielder’s head; it was ruled a grounds-round double. When Rye Neck’s second baseman threw home too late on a soft grounder, Tuckahoe was up.
In the bottom half of the frame, Katie Blanch stepped in with runners on 2nd and 3rd with two out. She laced a clean single to left for what proved to be the winning runs of the game.
Still, she wasn’t out of the woods, walking the first hitter in the fifth. But she was bailed out when her catcher, junior Carissa Pecchia, whipped a throw to first that nabbed the runner when Evelyn Picone applied the tag.
Tuckahoe loaded the bases in the sixth inning on two walks and a single with one out. But Blanch got the next two hitters looking at high, hard heat. Pecchia started the home sixth with a sharp single to left. Blanch also singled past third, and Cara Allen followed with a run-scoring single. When the throw went awry, Katie Blanch plated the fourth and final run.
After the game, Coach Spedafino enjoyed the come-from-behind home win and looked forward to more. “It’s strange not having a 2020 season. But I guess everyone’s in the same boat. And Katie getting 200 strikeouts while she’s just a sophomore…wow!”