Spartans’ Ostrom starting to get back in groove

Few know a pitcher better than a catcher. So, when Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake catcher Leanne Merchant
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Few know a pitcher better than a catcher.

So, when Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake catcher Leanne Merchant opines that teammate Emily Ostrom is back, Suburban Council teams should consider it fair warning.

“She looked good, especially once we got out of that first inning” said Merchant after Ostrom three-hit Colonie as the Spartans beat the Garnet Raiders, 7-1, in a Suburban Council softball game Tuesday. “Emily pulled it together, and looked really good.”

Ostrom held Colonie without a hit through the final six innings. She gave herself a cushion with a three-run homer in the third inning, and added an RBI single as the Spartans finished with 13 base hits.

Tuesday’s effort brought a smile to the face of Ostrom, who missed her entire sophomore season after she helped the Spartans reach the Section II Class A final as a freshman in 2007.

A severe knee injury suffered in a midseason basketball practice the following winter kept her off the diamond for six months.

“I tore the ACL and meniscus in my left knee,” said Ostrom of the January 2008 injury, which kept her out of the pitching circle until late July “I knew softball season was probably gone.”

Surgery and months of phys­ical therapy followed. Missing out on another trip to the sectional finals provided a blow to Ostrom’s psyche.

“Right about that time was when I could start to throw again,” said Ostrom. “I still couldn’t play, because I wasn’t able to slide or dive for a ball.

“Not being able to be a part of that really hurt.”

“She’s a very big part of this team,” said Spartans coach Allison Bernardi. “The girls rallied around each other, and got to the finals, but we missed her last year.”

Colonie coach Chris Robilotti is convinced Ostrom is her old self.

“She’s a great pitcher,” said Rob­ilotti, whose team lost a major portion of its offense from last year’s Class AA finalist club. “She moves the ball well. She knows where to move it in the strike zone, and when and where to move it out of the strike zone.”

Ostrom settled in after allowing a run and three hits in Colonie’s first at-bat, escaping a bases-loaded, two-out jam. She finished with five strikeouts, and walked four.

“In the first inning, you’re adjusting to the other team, to the strike zone, and you’re trying to see what pitches are working,” said Ostrom, who took the loss in Monday’s 6-3 SC setback against Niskayuna, despite giving up just four hits.

“Leanne and I have played together since we were 10, and we can pretty much figure things out between us.”

“It was a little shaky in the first inning, but she got through it,” said Merchant. “You have to make some adjustments.”

Ostrom’s homer, a drive over the fence in left, also helped her settle down.

“That helped,” said Ostrom. “It gave us a lift.”

“I think that helped her relax a little,” said Merchant, who had a 4-for-4 day at the plate.

Burnt Hills tacked on three runs in the fourth, with Meghan Heck’s RBI single the big hit. The eighth-grader combined with Katie Filak and Brianne Hadcock to produce five hits and five runs from the last three spots in the order.

“I got on them [Monday] about not swinging the bats,” said Bernardi, whose Spartans visit Shenendehowa today. “While it’s nice to have Emily back, we need to hit as a team. They did that today.”

Robilotti feels once his team starts playing regularly, the offense will get untracked.

“We haven’t had a lot of at bats, and we only struck out five times,” he said . “We put the ball in play, and tried to make them have to make plays.”

Burnt Hills 003 301 0 — 7 13 0

Colonie 100 000 0 — 1  3 0

Ostrom and Merchant; Probst, Platt (4) and Reinhardt, Barber (6).

Categories: High School Sports

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