Four-year varsity players Danielle Cacciola and Kristin Martin are proving to be extremely valuable for Eastchester.
The pitcher and catcher, who signed with Division I colleges Wednesday, are displaying a rapport they’ve cultivated since they were 7, when they first started playing together.
“It definitely helps when you have an experienced pitcher and catcher, since they touch the ball on every play,” the La Salle-bound Martin said. “We know the whole team and we keep the momentum of the team going.” (Martin shown right – Photo credit: Matthew Brown/The Journal News)
Eastchester fell to Ursuline in last season’s Section 1 Class A tournament, but the Eagles have jumped out to a 4-0 start this season, collecting wins over larger schools on the strength of the Siena-bound Cacciola’s efficiency.
“(Cacciola) has been going over 10 strikeouts in every game,” Eastchester coach Chris Walpole said. “Eleven against Clarkstown North, 14 against White Plains, 11 against Harrison and 13 in our first game against Mamaroneck.”
“Kristin has gotten better every year and she’s one of the better kids in the section,” Walpole said. “She hits the ball hard every time and she’s a leader. She hits the good pitchers, she’s that type of player.”
The Eagles have shown no lapses after graduating Anna Crowley, who had 16 homers and 46 RBI last season. (Cacciola shown left – Photo credit: Seth Harrison/ The Journal News)
“I’m definitely really confident in this group,” Martin said. “Everyone is going to put in an effort. Every day, someone is hot. Not just one person. I have confidence in every girl on the field.”
Johnson off to hot start: When you talk about pitching in Rockland County, no one is off to a hotter start than Nyack eighth-grader Mackenzie Johnson.
As of Tuesday, she’s off to a 4-0 beginning with an ERA of 0.75. She’s allowed three earned runs, 15 hits and six walks and has 54 strikeouts.
That includes the opening game of the season, when the Indians hosted Ossining and Johnson got 20 of the 21 outs on strikeouts.
“I was kind of nervous because it was our first game,” Johnson said. “I was surprised that I got it as an eighth-grader. I was nervous in the first inning, but after that, the nervousness went down and I felt comfortable with me and Megan (Sneeden, catcher). Knowing that she’s there helping me out. I didn’t think it would happen till my junior year.”
A game like that can give a pitcher a lot of confidence for the rest of the season.
“I’m surprised with how well I’m doing this year,” Johnson said. “We are stronger as a team. We have a lot of faith in each other. The team has a lot of confidence in me, and I’m happy with that.”