By Nelson Coffin
Although some nasty spring weather has kept softball teams from garnering much practice time on a diamond this spring, squads from St. John’s Catholic Prep and St. Paul’s School for Girls still played well on Thursday in sunny and breezy Brooklandville.
The Gators won the B Conference battle, 2-1, behind right-hander Sidney Hobbs, who scattered eight hits and struck out four in a route-going performance.
The senior, who is leaning toward attending the University of St. Andrews in Scotland in the fall, gave up only one walk and also hit a batter.
“Sidney has been awesome,” St. Paul’s coach Diana Allen said. “She was mixing her pitches and hitting her spots.”
Hobbs, whose freshman sister, Katie, plays second base, said that she remembered pitching against St. John’s last season.
“I knew they could field and I knew that they could hit,” she said. “But I wanted to take this game.”
Featuring a three-pitch arsenal of fastball, change-up and curve, Hobbs said that she decided not to try any change-ups against the Vikings.
The decision worked out perfectly, considering that she needed only 78 pitches to notch the win.
Hobbs was backed up by fielders who handled 22 chances with only one error while also pulling off a triple play and a double play.
St. Paul’s jumped out on top in the third inning on a triple by catcher Emily Issing, who then scooted home on an error.
The Vikings’ tied it in the fourth inning on a single by senior shortstop Morgan Dombroski and an RBI double by junior pitcher Katie Adams.
Senior shortstop Rachel Colbus smacked a home run off Adams in the bottom of the sixth for the Gators’ go-ahead run.
Colbus, who has committed to playing softball at NYU next year, said that she was a little late in getting around on Adams’ pitches until she connected.
“I worked on my timing,” she said. “And I was looking for an inside pitch, just where I like it.”
Colbus said that she knew as soon as the ball came off that bat that it was gone.
“You can kind of tell,” she said. “You pretty much know when you’ve hit one.”
St. John’s coach Kevin Smith said that five members of his young squad have never played competitive softball.
Yet with Adams in the circle, he figures that the Vikings will be able to stay in most games.
Their hitting stroke seemed to be fine, despite managing only one run off Hobbs.
Adams and senior first baseman Xanthi Limber had two hits each with sophomore center fielder Christian Curlett, sophomore left fielder Emily Snellings, right fielder Sophia S. and junior third baseman Amber Ennis also getting hits for St. John’s.
Colbus said that the Gators should benefit from a talented freshman class and the fact that Allen is now in her third year at the helm.
Last year, St. Paul’s went 6-3 in conference play and fell to Roland Park Country School, 6-5, in an extra-inning semifinal.
“We’re kind of out for blood this year,” Sidney Hobbs said.
Allen said that the Gators hope to nab the top playoff seed this spring.
“We’ve been knocking on the door for two years,” she said.