The Maloney softball team is sure a fun group to be around.
After staging an 11-run sixth-inning rally to bury arch-rival Platt a week ago at their blustery mountaintop home, the Spartans were asked to gather behind the plate for some team photos.
Head coach Scott Aresco ominously wasn’t among them. He quickly and clandestinely left the fenced-in diamond area for the building behind home plate. As the girls were arranging themselves appropriately, Aresco was priming the garden hose. He gave the girls a good spraying. Payback, he said, but even a post-game dousing doesn’t quite compare to the practical joke the girls played on him.
Earlier in the week, Aresco was summoned to the principal’s office for some “bad” news. His varsity players, he was told, paid a visit to Platt High and were observed doing some toilet paper landscaping to the school’s exterior. He was told that the only recourse was to suspend the girls, meaning they would miss the Class L tournament.
Asked what he thought, he sadly told the principal they got what they deserved. As he contemplated that all the girls had worked for all year had been “wiped” away, he was informed that the girls had executed an April Fools prank six weeks late.
The environment is conducive to winning. Two lower seeds would have to play at Dunn Sports complex and all military tacticians know about the advantage gained from defending the high ground.
The big rally against Platt came on like a sudden summer storm. Panthers pitcher Tierney Clancy had kept the Spartan bats alarmingly quiet for five innings. All the runs came because Platt, like so many previous Maloney foes, couldn’t keep Ariele Virgulto off the basepaths.
In the fifth inning with Maloney trailing 3-2, she laid down a bunt single. On the first pitch to consummate No. 2 hitter Saimara Cantres, Virgulto stole second. Two wild pitches enabled her to score.
The sequence stirred the Maloney bats. To that point, Clancy had allowed four hits, two Virgulto bunt singles and two-out, fourth inning singles by Megan Guest and Paige Uliase.
Chelsea Schott provided a glimpse into the double-digit rally on the horizon with a line single. Lindsey Massicotte stroked a double. A fly-ball double play gave Platt a temporary reprieve, but a half-hour later the Spartans were launching shots.
Of the nine hits in the big inning, seven went to left field. Of those seven, five went for extra bases.
The Spartans are loose. They’re swinging hot bats. How deep can it carry them in Class L? Anything can turn a game of softball around. Anybody could beat anybody. Why not Maloney?