Peddie pounds out first win

SOFTBALL: The Falcons’ 19-hit, 10-run offensive outburst last week at Germantown Academy is the excpetion, not the rule for this year’s squad.

By: Neil Hay
   Jan Webb can only hope there will be more days like this one.
   So far, though, it has been the exception and not the rule for the Peddie softball team.
   The Falcons exploded for 19 hits back on April 10 for a 10-3 win at Germantown Academy, Peddie’s first – and only – win of the 2002 season.
   The win snapped a four-game losing streak. But the locals were unable to generate any momentum and dropped their next three starts – to Princeton Day School, Hillsborough and Ewing.
   Maria Nichols enjoyed a big day at the plate and behind it. Nichols swung a potent bat, collecting two singles, two triples and a run batted in. Nichols, who has a gun for an arm, also threw out two runners trying to steal second base, and picked off another at third base.
   "She had a good day," said Webb.
   Joining in on the fun was Christina Campion, who singled, doubled and tripled. Jackie O’Reilly and Erica Mannherz each chipped in with two hits and a run batted in, and Jenna Wissocki and Erin Muller had two singles apiece.
   Although the Falcons stranded eight runners, they ran the bases with abandon and took advantage of four Germantown errors.
   "Germantown is not strong," acknowledged Webb. "We were aggressive. We got our bats going." It was not until Peddie had a big lead and pulled all its regulars in the sixth innings when Germantown put its runs on the board.
   Wissocki had little difficulty on the mound and earned the win with a complete-game effort. She allowed seven hits, three (earned) runs, two walks and two strikeouts. Two Peddie errors did not hurt.
   "Wissocki looked pretty good. She is not overpowering. Her job is to throw strikes and let the defense make the plays. So far they have. She makes the other team put the ball in play."
   Wissocki was on the mound, but Nichols was unavailable in Peddie’s 3-0 loss to visiting Princeton Day School Saturday. In six innings Wissocki allowed just one earned run, was nicked for six hits, struck out three and walked two. Peddie committed only one error but it helped PDS to two unearned runs. Campion pitched the seventh inning.
   "Jenna did fine."
   The locals managed only five hits in the loss, including two singles by Stephanie Bolheimer and Rachelle Levy’s third-inning double. Levy then stole third base, but got no further.
   "I was surprised at the shutout," admitted Webb. "Lisa Laudenberger (six strikeouts) is a solid pitcher but not outstanding. We hit a lot of popups with runners on base." Peddie stranded seven. "We could not bunch our hits or advance any runners."
   10-3 were the final numbers Monday too. But this time Peddie was on the short side of the score, losing to a good Hillsborough team at home.
   Webb tapped Campion for the starting pitching assignment against the Cougars. Said Webb, "Socks (Wissocki) pitched six innings against PDS, then Camps (Campion) blew them out in the seventh. She looked really good. But it weakens us defensively (when Campion vacates shortstop to pitch) and that is what happened (Monday). It is a roll of the dice."
   Campion allowed 11 hits but only two, including a solo home run, were hit hard. Campion gave up three walks and struck out four. But she was betrayed by the defense which made seven errors, accounting for eight unearned runs.
   Peddie collected eight hits off Marisa Van Cleef. Said Webb, "It was our best day at the plate by far. We hit a pretty good pitcher."
   Levy had a single and double and Wissocki and Bolheimer each had two hits. But the young Falcons, with five starters who are freshmen and sophomores, struck out eight times.
   Nichols returned to the lineup. She caught another base stealer and picked off two more runners.
   Chalk it up to inexperience. With five first- and second-year players in the lineup Wednesday, the Falcons imploded in the sixth inning in a 7-1 loss at Ewing.
   The Falcons wasted an outstanding pitching effort from Campion. Peddie, scoring on an error and Levy’s RBI-triple in the third, nursed a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth. Then it all came apart: two walks, three singles, a triple and four errors handed the Blue Devils seven runs and a 7-1 win.
   The loss dropped the Falcons to 1-7 on the season.
   Campion, who walked five and fanned six in six innings of work, deserved better. Through the first five innings, she allowed just one hit and three walks. Then disaster.
   The errors were "silly," said Webb. "We are young and it shows. We were tight in that last inning. It is inexperience."
   Against a pitcher who "was the slowest we’ve faced all year," Peddie made a number of outs on easy popups. The Falcons, who did not hit the ball hard very often, finished with five hits, including Levy’s triple and two singles by Wissocki.
   "Wissocki is on fire," with seven hits in 11 at bats over the last four games.
   There were some positives in the loss. Julie deLaurentis, a freshman in right field, took a hit away with a strong throw to first base. And Muller, a sophomore, did a nice job at first by scooping out several low throws.