Niskayuna can’t wait for the meat of the Suburban Council softball season to arrive.
Senior Devon Dare threw a six-hitter, and 11th-grader Gina Grant drove in two runs with a second-inning single Wednesday as the Lady Silver Warriors handed Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake its first loss of the season, 3-0.
One week removed from its last game, Niskayuna played errorless defense in improving to 2-1, all against SC opponents.
“We’re in a position to be successful,” said Jules Paul, the third Niskayuna head coach in as many years. “We have to keep pushing, and challenge ourselves to get better.
“I’m looking forward to getting into the part of the season where we’re playing on a regular basis.”
Dare survived some early trouble,
working out of two-on, one-out jams in both the first and second innings.
“I was trying to work the corners more, using my curve and hitting the fastball inside,” she said of the late innings. “They’ve got some good hitters, so I was trying to hit the corners so they wouldn’t hit the ball hard.”
Behind her, the Silver Warriors were turning hard-hit balls into outs in the early innings. Burnt Hills cleanup hitter Zoe Dubois hit two line drives that found gloves, and shortstop Ali Frary made a nice play to short-circuit a potential fifth-ining rally by the Lady Spartans.
Gabbie Litz’s fifth-inning sacrifice fly made it 3-0 in the home fifth, and only a pair of perfect relay throws prevented another Niskayuna run from scoring in that inning when freshman Stacey Gordon ripped a double off the fence in center.
“It’s nice to get the support, and it’s nice that we’re playing good defense,” said Dare. “That puts less pressure on me. I like that.”
“We’re swinging the bats well,” said Burnt Hills coach Allison Bernardi of her team, which fell to 2-1 in the league, 3-1 overall. “Today, we just hit shots right at them.
“I expected this to be a good game, and it was. And, we get to play them again.”
Paul is leaning on former head coach Dave Foucault as he finds his way around Section II’s top league. One of the keys has been attention to detail.
“The thing that we’ve started to do is to learn and watch from other teams,” Paul said. “For example, we’re picking how and where we want to pitch to certain girls, being more meticulous with each individual at-bat, rather than just having an overall plan of how to work against each team.”
“Coach always says, ‘We don’t need heroes,’ so everyone is making plays or getting a hit,” said Dare. “We’re relaxed.
“It’s a different coaching style, but I think we’re all working well together. Having Dave back, and having coach Paul here, it’s an interesting combination, but it works.”
Even with the loss, Bernardi likes how the Lady Spartans have played.
“We have 13 players back, which is a first for me,” she said. “In the offseason, they all got together and hit and played, so they were ready to go from the first day of practice.
“The entire group has been hitting well, and Erica’s been pitching well. I like this team.”
Burnt Hills 000 000 0 — 0 6 2
Niskayuna 020 010 x — 3 6 0
Coluccio and Dubois; Dare and Coyne.