By MIKE SMITH
Mamaroneck’s softball team might not have a ton of veterans on the roster this year, but what it lacks in experience, the team more than makes up in good old-fashioned moxie.
On May 9, behind a strong effort from hurler Jen Gottfried, the Tigers shut down their rivals from White Plains to improve to 11-8 on the season and moved one step closer to taking home a league title.
Mamaroneck outlasted a tough White Plains squad 3-2 in one of just a few games that got in before Friday’s nasty weather.
Gottfried held the visiting Tigers’ bats at bay until fifth inning, when they scored two runs. In the bottom half of the inning, however; Mamaroneck got on the board after Emma Goldman tripled and later scored on a double play. Gottfried would later put her team ahead with a run-scoring triple and would score on a throwing error to help Mamaroneck take the lead, one it wouldn’t relinquish.
Gottfried said that, coming into the game, she knew she would have to be on-point to give her team a chance to beat White Plains hurler Danielle Sputo.
“I’ve been pitching against her since the eighth grade,” Gottfried said. “She throws hard, has a lot of different pitches, so it always motivates me to pitch against her.”
At 11-8 on the year, Gottfried said Mamaroneck’s relative youth has actually been a blessing this spring as the team doesn’t seem fazed by pressure situations.
“A lot of the girls, they don’t know much about how good some of these other teams are,” Gottfried said. “We tell them about teams, but they don’t really think about it, they don’t worry about thinking under pressure.”
If Mamaroneck can beat Mount Vernon on May 13*, it will seal a league title bid, something that few–outside the Tigers–expected coming into the year given the team’s youth.
According to Gottfried, it became incumbent on the returners, especially catcher Kimi Chiapparelli, to help bring the team along through the tough games.
“I couldn’t really do it without my catcher,” she said. “She’s a big-game player and a great player overall. And I think that, with the younger girls, we’ve seen they’ve had resilience all year long.”
The team has begun to talk about the postseason and, so far, Gottfried and the veterans have been encouraged by what they’ve seen so far.
“We tell the girls, once you get into the playoffs, one bad play, one error, can knock you out,” she said. “You give a team like Ketcham or some of the other strong teams an extra out and they’re going to make the most of it. We’re going to have to go into these games with the same level of focus every time, but I think these girls want to go out and prove that we are as good as our record says.”
*Editor’s note: Mamaroneck beat Mount Vernon to claim its first league title in 21 years.