Thunderbirds hanging in on the diamond

DIX HILLS, New York, May 1

BY: Andrew Wroblewski

The playoff hopes of the Half Hollow Hills East (4-9) softball team took a significant blow on Friday as the team fell to Centereach (11-3) by a score of 12-0. With the loss, the Thunderbirds can only afford to lose one of their remaining seven games if they are to make this year’s Section XI playoffs.

“We have been plagued with injuries this season,” said Megan Pfaeffle, head coach for Hills East. “That’s resulted in us moving around girls, which has been a tough adjustment.”

The Hills East pitching staff surrendered 12 runs on Friday — 9 of them earned — while giving up 14 hits total. Pitcher Kristen Ulmer made her fourth appearance of the year in the game, striking out 3 batters, and finished with the loss. Ulmer’s record was 2-2 on the year, following the game.

Centereach was led by Meghan Brajevich on offense who contributed 2 RBIs while going 2-for-4 in the game. The Cougars also received run support from Lindsay Ness who was 2-for-4 on the day, while also driving in three of Centereach’s runs.

“One of our struggles all year has been hitting,” Phaeffle said earlier in the week. “We can’t seem to generate a rally of any kind and seem to just have sporadic hits here and there.”

Moving forward, the Thunderbirds were to take on struggling Central Islip (2-11) on Tuesday at Hills East. The Musketeers have dropped two of their last three games, so the Thunderbirds hoped to capitalize in order to keep their playoff hopes breathing. The game concluded after press time.

“We, as a team, take each game one at a time,” Phaeffle prior to Tuesday’s game. “Every game is a potential win and we need to work together for a complete 7 innings.”

When the Hills East met Central Islip for the first time this season in the beginning of April, the Thunderbirds won in blowout fashion 19-6. In that game, Maya ChinQuee had a triple and 3 RBIs while her teammates Alexa Calisano and Ulmer both had four hits on the day.

Hills East’s next game will be at home on Friday at 4 p.m. against Newfield (7-7) who beat the Thunderbirds 8-2 when they played last month.

Originally published: The Long Islander:Half Hollow Hills (Thursday, May 01, 2014;  pg. A22)

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