Columbia Girls Varsity Softball Team Defeats Millburn 12-1
Saturday, April 21, 2012 • 4:26am
MAPLEWOOD, NJ – Eleven consecutive batters reached base for the Columbia varsity softball team during its 11-run fourth inning to lead the Cougars to a 12-1 win over Millburn High School in five innings Friday night.
The win improves Columbia’s record to 4-8 this season.
“It’s good for us,” head coach Lou Cicenia said. “It’s good for us in terms of the confidence and getting better looks, and (we) showed some self-control at the plate.”
The Cougars entered the bottom of the fourth inning with the score tied at 1-1, but the biggest play of the inning may have happened at the plate. Millburn Junior Julie Zaifman was leading off the top of the fourth inning when, after swinging at a ball, she hurt her hand and could not continue to pitch.
Senior Sam Abrams came in to relieve Zaifman, and that is when Columbia did their damage.
“I was surprised how the game turned out but it’s unfortunate that their pitcher went down,” Cicenia said. “It wasn’t their everyday pitcher out there, and we did a good job of taking advantage of the injury. Otherwise I think it would have come down to the wire like it did last year.”
Freshman Siobhan Nolet led off the inning, reaching first on an error from the shortstop. Fellow freshman Phoebe Labat walked as the next batter. After the next batter popped out to the pitcher, the Cougars went the next 11 batters without recording an out.
Kaitlin Kling got the stretch started with a walk, while the first big hit of the inning came off the bat of senior Kyrsten VanNatta. She hit a bases-loaded double that reached the outfield wall on one bounce that scored two runners, making the score 4-1
Three consecutive walks followed the VanNatta hit. Nolet, up for the second time in the inning, hit a two-RBI double down the left field line. Labat followed with another two RBI-hit, but this time it was a single to left center field, pushing the Cougars lead to 10-1.
The play that gave Columbia the 10-run lead, triggering the 10-run rule, was a bases-loaded walk by Sara Casiano.
In Milburn’s final chance at the plate, Lienne Harrington came to the circle and made easy work of the Milburn batter with the only player to reach base doing so on a walk.
VanNatta led Columbia’s offense, going 3-3 with two RBIs to go along with two stolen bases and two runs scored. Starting in the circle for Columbia was junior Emily Schnorr, who gave up only three hits and one run in four innings pitched, with two strikeouts.
“I thoroughly enjoyed seeing (Schnorr) have control of the ball and making the other team put the ball in play and let the fielders make the plays,” Cicenia said. “We got lucky with a couple plays; I think my shortstop took away four hits and the centerfielder took a hit away.”
The Columbia softball team next plays on Monday against James Caldwell High School.
Steve Valenti is participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts designed to give students real-world experience.