The River Dell Golden Hawks Varsity Girls Softball Team (1-0) squared off against the Dumont Huskies(0-1) on a cool and crisp Spring day with golden sunshine and deep blue skies in the 2023 regular-season and home opener at River Dell High School (Brenda Canal Field) in Oradell, New Jersey.
River Dell senior Gabby DeGroat got the starting assignment for the Golden Hawks. DeGroat ran into a jam in the top 1st with runners on first and second one out but managed to wiggle out of the jam recording the last two outs, including a strikeout.
“When I started out, I was nervous and had a lot of pressure on me because I thought I had to be perfect at all times,” Gabby DeGroat explained. “Coach (Brian Calabrese) helped me realize I don’t have to be perfect at all, and I have teammates I can rely on, which is great.” “It’s my senior season, and I’m trying to have fun right now right, which is all I could ask for.”
“Coach (Brian Calabrese) and Bella(Molina) know me so well and what pitches are working and not when I’m tired and know how to calm me down and if I’m too anxious.” “Bella(Molina) and I have been playing together for ten years and we have that special bond that helps us and supporting each other during the games which is amazing to have and she’s great with the pitch calling and knowing how far I can go.”
In the bottom half of the frame, River Dell had an opportunity to score their first runs of the season with runners at first and second one out, but Dumont starting pitcher Halle Richard retired the last two hitters.
However, the Golden Hawks broke through in the second inning. Gabby DeGroat belted a bases-loaded RBI single, followed by Bella Molina ripping a two-run single.
“We already know the fierce competitor (Gabby)DeGroat is and she’s super comfortable at the plate and she invites those situations and loves the pressure,” River Dell Head Coach Brian Calabrese described. “(Bella)Molina, what a great attitude and she’s all about the team and I’m so proud of the way she’s hitting the ball and more confident than she was last year and right where I want her to be at.”
Moving to the third inning, the Huskies responded with a run to trim the River Dell advantage. Gabby DeGroat regrouped and set down the last hitter on a ground out to third baseman Maddie Roth.
“It’s always a puzzle and we got to put the pieces in the right spots,” River Dell Head Coach Brian Calabrese noted. “Having her (Maddie Roth) at third because she is athletic enough to play shortstop, but the corner position is where she’s going to thrive.”
Maddie Roth also contributed at the plate with her second hit of the game with one out in the fourth inning. Gabby DeGroat followed, hammering a double, and Bella Molina hit by a pitch to load up the bases.
Grace Basil stepped up the plate and promptly cranked a sharp ground ball mishandled on the exchange from the shortstop to the second baseman as two runs scored.
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