April 26, 2006
Stavola Stymies Undefeated Miller Place
Adding an exciting new chapter to her already impressive East Hampton softball legacy, Jessie Stavola showed yet another Suffolk League V opponent just why she's considered one of the top pitchers on Long Island. The sophomore star threw a no-hitter with 14 strikeouts in the Bonackers' 2-1 crossover win over Miller Place last Thursday.
|Independent / James J. Mackin
East Hampton defeated Miller Place 2-1 last Thursday on the strength of sophomore Jessie Stavola's no-hitter. Deven O'Brien slams a shot, above. (click for larger version)|
"She had really good control of her fastball and her rise ball and she got a lot of strikeouts with both of them," said East Hampton head coach Lou Reale. "Jessie did a really good job today and nobody could really touch her. When she's on, she's very tough to hit."
What was even more impressive about Stavola's no-hitter was that it came against one of the best teams in Suffolk this season as Miller Place entered the game with a flawless 9-0 record, including a 6-0 record in League VI. Stavola allowed only two Lady Panthers to reach base, both via errors by Bonackers infielders while refusing to issue a single walk.
A true power pitcher, Stavola sent Miller Place hitters back to their dugout with great frequency last Thursday afternoon, recording 14 of the 21 total outs via either a swinging or looking strikeout.
"She just had good control and was constantly ahead of the batters," Reale said. "We didn't even realize [Jesse had pitched a no-hitter] until after the game was over. We weren't thinking about it. We were only thinking about winning the game but when you have a pitcher like that, I expect her to dominate games like this. This is what she's expected to do. Miller Place was undefeated coming into the game and we knew that they were going to be tough, but Jesse seemed to handle the pressure very well."
Stavola also provided her team with the winning run last Thursday after reaching second base with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning due to a Panthers throwing error. With the game tied 1-1, junior catcher Caity O'Brien then followed with a single to centerfield, putting a solid swing on an 0-2 offering from Miller Place starting pitcher Jaclyn Doolin as Stavola rounded third and headed home. The throw to the plate was slightly up the line, but Stavola wasn't taking any chances and opted to perform a textbook slide across home as her teammates raced from the dugout to celebrate the dramatic win.
"Caity [O'Brien] fought off a tough pitch and got the hit to centerfield that we were looking for," said Reale. "It was a good ending to a good game and it was definitely a confidence builder for us. We're starting to show more character on this team and I think part of that is because the last two games, we've had to come from behind to win. The girls know that they need to do in order to win and they're doing it."
Caity O'Brien (2-for-4, two RBI) also knocked in East Hampton's first run last Thursday which tied the game at 1-1 after Myhoa Nguyen came through in the clutch by delivering a two-out single before stealing second base. O'Brien calmly lined a single up the middle as Nguyen motored home.
A day earlier, East Hampton (4-2 in League V) defeated Shoreham-Wading 6-3 behind the hitting of junior Devin O'Brien and sophomore Mylinn Nguyen along with the pitching of Stavola. O'Brien had three RBI and went 2-for-4 at the plate while Nguyen had two hits in, three at-bats, and scored two runs. Stavola surrendered only two hits and struck out 11.
The Bonackers have what Reale described as a "tough week" ahead of them, playing six games in the next six days, culminating in a double-header on Saturday at home against Huntington.
"It's going to be a tough week and a big week for us," Reale said. "It's going to be grueling. Fortunately, we're getting clutch hitting and we have two pitchers like Jessie and Kristen [Carroza] to help us. Last year, nobody was paying much attention to us, but now that we're a favorite to win [the league]; everybody's got their eye on us.
"Now, it's a big deal if we lose a game, but that's okay because we'd rather it be a big deal when we lose. Right now, we're right where we want to be."