The Duanesburg softball team was happy just to be outside, playing on its home field.
A nine-run first inning and 18-5 win over Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville on Tuesday only added to the enjoyment.
“It’s just so good to be playing games, actually being outside and on our field,” said first baseman Rachel Gamache, who had two hits and drove in two runs out of the cleanup spot. “You can only be inside for so long.
“This is only our second game, and just our first on our own field. Everyone is just happy to get a game in.”
“I was tired of being on the tennis court,” chimed in Lia Schettine, who homered, doubled twice and drove in four runs. “That’s the only time we were outside until we played last weekend.
“It’s so much better, finally being able to play games, even in weather like this.”
Duanesburg sent 14 hitters to the plate in the first inning, banging out three doubles and five singles.
Two other batters walked, another was hit by a pitch, and every baserunner was aggressive.
“I wasn’t sure what I’d see today,” said Lady Eagles coach John Conway. “We lost all of our preseason scrimmages because of the weather, and had only played once. And the kids were excited about our first home game.
“They went right out and started swinging the bats. That’s what I like to see.”
Conway noted that this spring has been frustrating, more than most he can remember.
“The only time it’s been as bad, or worse than this, was the last time we had a really bad winter, 10 or 12 years ago,” he said. “That year, on April 7, I drilled a hole in the ice on the pitcher’s circle, just to clear it.”
After seeing his team get 12 consecutive hitters on base in the first, Conway was focused on the work of junior pitcher Sydney Foland, a transfer from Schoharie.
Foland struck out the side in order in the first. Before turning the circle over to Tori Powers in the sixth, Foland gave up all five Wolves’ runs, striking out 10, walking six and hitting a batter.
The Wolves didn’t put the ball in play against Powers, who faced eight hitters, striking out six and walking two.
“We’ve got to cut down on the walks, but the conditions were brutal,” said Conway of the blustery, chilly day. “We’ve got three good pitchers with Sydney, Tori and a little freshman we’ve got.”
Duanesburg has won a division title every year since the Western Athletic Conference began operation in the 2001-02 school year.
“These kids have got a lot of pressure on them,” said Conway. “We’ve won 65 straight league games.”
Even with the loss of five starters from last year’s team, Duanesburg wants to keep those two streaks going.
“I think we’ve got a good team,” said Gamache. “Our pitching is going to be good, and we can hit. We’ve got some new players, but they’re really fitting in.”
Leadoff hitter Devon Hennel didn’t let the defensive moves affect her offense, as she reached base and scored four straight times.
Alexa Lombardoni, who started the game at second base, had four hits and drove in two runs, and Foland, hitting third in the order, singled, doubled and drove in four runs.
“That top four or five in the order is going to really good,” said Conway. “And Lia Schettine, she hit a couple of shots today.”
To their credit, the Wolves fought back in their season opener.
Freshman catcher Caitlyn Handy drove in a run in a two-run third inning, and doubled and scored as the visitors scored three in the fifth.
OESJ 002 030 0 — 5 4 6
Duanesburg 903 132 x — 18 12 2
Clark and Handy; Foland, Powers (6) and Hutchins, Schettine (6).