Jill Regan knew the action was going to get fast and furious for Tottenville once they returned from Spring Break.
The schedule this week has been an early, yet intense challenge for the PSAL champions. The Pirates, ranked No. 1 in New York City by MSG Varsity, first shut out Madison in a rematch of last year’s PSAL championship on Monday.
The Pirates were more than ready for an anticipated crossover matchup in Richmond Hill on Friday against Construction.
“It’s been a rough couple of weeks, but these games only make us better and its good we have good competition,” Regan said.
Ace pitcher Cheryl Lopez allowed just two hits, struck out 12 and went 3-for-3 with 2 RBIs as the Pirates routed host Construction, 15-2 at Smokey Oval Park.
Regan drove in two runs by recording a double and a triple for Tottenville, which plated the majority of its runs in the middle three innings against ace sophomore pitcher Britney Rodriguez. The Pirates scored four runs in the third and fifth inning and were aided by the sloppy defense from the No. 7 Hawks who committed eight errors.
“You play the better competition, and we’re starting to play better,” Tottenville coach Cathy Morano said. “We’re starting to get a lot more focused in what we’re doing. I mean today they hit tremendous.”
Tottenville (7-0) did just that against Rodriguez, a hard throwing lefty windmiller who is arguably one of the top pitchers in the city as just a sophomore.
The Pirates got on the scoreboard in the top of the second inning when second baseman Ashley Notaro lined a fastball down the right field line and finished her sprint around the bases for a solo home run.
In the top of the third, Lopez, who reached on a single and advanced to second on an error, scored after Regan lined a first pitch fastball for an RBI double to make it 2-0.
Lopez said the Pirates had an easier time getting the bat around on Rodriguez than they did on Monday afternoon against the slower throwing Madison pitcher Cheyenne Tatesure.
“She’s one of the better pitchers,” Lopez said of Rodriguez. “We definitely adjusted it and we did pretty well. Honestly I think we do better against faster pitching. A lot of us play travel ball and we’re used to that kind of pitching.”
One day after a five-inning no-hitter against MSIT, Lopez effectively spotted her fastball by throwing an assortment of curveballs and screwballs.
The Hawks didn’t record a hit until Rodriguez singled with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Construction (6-1) scored its only runs in that frame off a throwing error and an RBI single by Amy Pirozek to plate Kailan Luciano.
Hawks coach Marco Migliaccio had to shuffle his lineup to replace former starting shortstop Alicia Gonzalez, a key player in last season’s run to the PSAL semifinals. Migliaccio announced Gonzalez, who had hit .684 in five PSAL league games this season, departed the team this week to concentrate on her academics.
Construction was also without the services of starting first baseman Katherine Valle.
“It’s a tough day, but a good learning day,” Migliaccio said. “We started out with a freshman, sophomore and a sophomore out there. They’re a great team, that’s a great program. They’re going to put the ball in play. We got to make the plays.”
Migliaccio said the Hawks will need to put this loss behind them with a key division clash with Bryant on the horizon.
“The key is what’s going to happen tomorrow,” Migliaccio said. “They learn from this, and they don’t play shellshocked, we can beat this.”
The Pirates, meanwhile, are brimming with confidence as they finish this tough stretch on Monday against No. 9 Wagner in a battle of undefeated Staten Island schools.
“It’s definitely a confidence boost because we look forward to these type of games,” Lopez said. “In the beginning we had not very challenging games. These games keep us awake. We make sure we work our hardest to beat these teams.”