Eight-Run Rally in Third Inning Propels Ocean City Softball to Win over Holy Spirit
OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City softball team trailed visiting Holy Spirit 5-0 after just a half-inning on Wednesday afternoon, but the Red Raiders didn't panic. They knew their offense could get things going once they came to bat.
The Red Raiders responded with three runs in their half of the first inning to trim the lead to 5-3, then exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the third to take command and eventually win by the 10-run rule, 15-5, in five innings.
Freshman first baseman Jackie Nesi had a monster game for Ocean City, going 3-for-3 with a walk, three RBIs, three runs scored and a pair of doubles to lead an offense that has scored 23 runs in its past two games following a 14-0 shutout loss to Egg Harbor Township.
"The pitches were right there. I had two strikes and had to protect the plate," said Nesi, who is just four games into her varsity career. "In the first inning, I thought we could come back, but I didn't think we would come back by that much. I thought it would be a much closer game, but we ended up getting a lot of good hits. Of course it feels good when you (get hits) but when the whole team does it, that feels even better."
Ocean City (2-2) was outscored 23-3 in its first two games, but started turning things around with an 8-4, come-from-behind win over Middle Township on Monday. The Red Raiders trailed 4-0 in that game until the sixth inning before putting up eight unanswered runs. Ocean City now has two eight-run rallies in its past two games.
"We came back against Middle Township, and I thought we could do it again here today. I thought we did pretty good overall; not exactly from the start, though. We all just picked each other up and said we needed to get hits, and we did," said fellow freshman Lindsay Konick, who was 2-for-3 with a double, two stolen bases, three RBIs and two runs scored.
Sophomore pitcher Catherine Faust got knocked around early by the Spartans (1-3), but settled down after the first inning and pitched four straight scoreless frames after that to pick up the win.
Holy Spirit got off to a hot start, loading the bases with two outs against Faust. Julia Rifici ripped a two-run single to left and Nicolette Calabrese followed with a two-run single to center to make it 4-0. Savanna Holt then stroked an RBI single to left to plate courtesy runner Marissa Bunting with the Spartans' fifth run before Faust was able to work out of trouble.
In its half of the first, Ocean City got a two-run double to right-center from Nesi and an RBI double to deep left field from Faust as she helped her own cause by cutting the Spartans' lead to 5-3.
The Red Raiders added a run in the second on a sacrifice fly by Brooke Segich to make it 5-4, and Faust worked a 1-2-3 top of the third to get Ocean City's offense right back into the dugout. The Red Raiders took advantage by rallying for eight runs in the bottom of the third. Keani Hindle, who walked to start the inning, scored on a wild pitch to tie the score at 5, and an RBI single by Alex Vitola put the Red Raiders ahead for good, 6-5.
Konick knocked in two more runs with a double and Segich followed with a run-scoring single to left to push the lead to 9-5. Shortstop Rachael Zeides tacked on another run with an RBI double to right, and Hindle's RBI double to left made it 11-5. Nesi capped the rally by driving in Hindle with a single to left to give the Raiders a 12-5 lead.
Ocean City added a run in the fourth on an RBI groundout by Konick, then ended the game with a pair of runs in the fifth on an infield single by Courtney Bodenschatz that plated a run and a bases-loaded walk to Devon Punthrangkul.
Nesi said the rallies this week against Middle Township and Holy Spirit will go a long way toward the Red Raiders building some confidence.
"I think we are doing much better," Nesi said. "Our first couple games, we didn't do that great, but now that we are getting the bats rolling, I think we'll do much better as the season goes on."
Contact Dave O'Sullivan: email@example.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays