The confusion at the Buekendaal softball field was understandable.
What had just occurred hadn’t happened in three years.
“Some of the team didn’t know the game was over,” said Lindsay McCarty, whose ground ball to first base in the bottom of the seventh scored the winning run for Mekeel Christian Academy in Tuesday’s 12-11 win over Sharon Springs, the team’s first victory in this reboot year.
McCarty’s statement spoke volumes about the Lady Lions, some of whom are new to the game, and none of whom have played at the varsity level since the school dropped the sport for lack of numbers after the 2011 season.
As with any school the size of the Scotia private school — whose Bureau of Education Data Systems enrollment figure for the 2013-14 school year was 90 — if you are any kind of athlete, you are an athlete for all seasons.
“Everybody has to play every sport,” said McCarty, who considers herself first and foremost a soccer player, and is also a starter on the basketball team. “I wasn’t going to play, but I’m glad I did now.
The limited player pool resulted in some friendly cajoling.
“I’ve been hounding people since last year to play softball,” said senior Nicole Barritiere, who found there was no team when she transferred to Mekeel from the Cobleskill-Richmondville district. “That’s one of my quotes in the yearbook, ‘Come out and play softball.’ I’ve been bugging everybody about it.”
She and McCarty cut a deal.
“I convinced her to play my sport — soccer — and she convinced me to play her sport — softball,” said McCarty.
Another 12th-grader, Victoria Alteri, was just happy to resume playing the sport.
“It’s nice to be in on the beginning of it. I had played softball in middle school, but volleyball is my sport,” she said. “When they said we were going to have softball, I was excited to get a chance to play.”
The team wasn’t formed until February, and the first turnout left Barritiere wondering if she would get to play her favorite sport in her senior year.
“Our first open gym, it was me and Elaina Taplin,” she said. “We only had two of us there, so we had to keep asking people to sign up for the team. We had something like 22 people sign up, but some quit.”
“We worked hard to get a team this year, so we want to see it keep going,” said Alteri.
Enough schoolmates were eventually convinced — or coerced — to put together a team.
Some girls had played on recreation or travel league teams. Others, not so much.
So girls who were two-sport athletes, playing soccer in the fall and basketball in the winter, added a third varsity sport.
Nicole Pigliavento (shortstop), Lexy Rychick (catcher), Taplin (third base) and Lizzie Bath (second base) joined McCarty (outfield) and Barritiere (pitcher) for the spring sport.
Alteri came aboard after captaining the volleyball team.
Deciding who would play what position was another matter.
Barritiere became the team’s pitcher by default.
“I knew the mechanics,” she said. “I knew I was going to have to pitch if we were going to have a team.”
Alteri found herself modeling a first baseman’s glove.
“I used to pay outfield,” said Alteri. “But we didn’t have anybody at first base, so they just kind of put me there.”
“I guess because I’m kind of fast and athletic,” reasoned McCarty of her inherited spot on the field. “I’d played in ninth grade, but I never really played, so I thought I’d come out and see what I could do.”
The game results were secondary for the team.
“It hurt me that there was no softball team here,” said Barritiere. “My goal was to get a softball team going, to get a foundation started.”
With the season winding down, there is a sense of pride, mixed with a little remorse, among the teammates.
“We have a lot of potential. We have a lot of good hitters. We’re doing a lot of good things,” Barritiere said.
“I think we could have developed into a good team,” said Alteri. “We’ve definitely improved from the beginning of the season.”
McCarty, the reluctant outfielder, probably spoke for all of her teammates.
“I didn’t think I’d be this sad to see it coming to an end,” she said.
Troy defeated Central Square, 2-1, in eight innings, and Fairport, 8-1, Sunday to compete a 4-0 run through the Beast of the East Tournament at Cicero/North Syracuse High School.
Alina Germinerio had a walkoff double in the eighth inning against Central Square, and Brianna Bowen scattered six hits, struck out seven and also had two doubles, a single and an RBI against Fairport.
On Saturday, the Flying Horses blanked Jamesville Dewitt, 8-0, and defeated defending Class AA state champion Cicero/North Syracuse, 5-4, in eight innings.
Hunter Levesque pitched a three-hitter and fanned 10 against James Dewitt, and Kaitlin DelSignore drove in four runs with a two-run homer, a double and a single.
Victoria Hallett had a triple, single, two RBI and scored the winning run on a failed suicide squeeze against C/NS.
Troy improved to 17-1 with the sweep, and Levesque, who won three games, raised her record to 14-0.