West Hempstead is Ram tough

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With ongoing construction of the school’s athletic complex forcing them to play all of their games away from the friendly confines of their home diamond, the West Hempstead girls are making a bit of noise on softball fields around the county in 2019.

After a 17-5 victory over Lynbrook on April 17, the league-leading Rams improved to 9-1 overall (9-0 in Nassau Conference AB-V.) Junior Danielle Cavallo struck out 11 batters over five innings and went 3-for-4 at the plate with two doubles and three RBI.

After dropping their opener, the Rams have won nine consecutive games, outscoring opponents by a margin of 101-24.

Coach Chris Van Kovics’s blueprint for success isn’t complicated. “It comes down to throwing strikes and the defense making plays,” Van Kovics said. “We’re working hard at practice to get better at situational softball. We’re executing pretty well. The girls are hyped up. They know they have something special going on.”

Cavallo’s ability to pound the strike zone has kept opponents from having big innings. While she doesn’t possess overpowering heat, Cavallo has three shutouts and is averaging 10 punch outs per game. She struck out 11 in a battle of unbeaten teams as West Hempstead played its most complete game of the season and beat Jericho 10-3 on April 16.

Kate Shanley has emerged as the league’s top player. Shanley leads the team in home runs, RBI, batting average, and stolen bases, and she’s terrific behind the plate. The junior catcher hit a pair of homers and knocked in five in a 12-0 win at Elmont.

Junior third baseman Jenna Eivazi has been a masher at the plate and is playing a great third base. She fields the bunt as well as anyone. Eivazi is batting over .350 for the season, and has hit some lasers. She had two hits and knocked in four in a rout of Garden City.

Senior Sara Welti has been excellent at shortstop for the Rams. Her stellar defense was huge in the win at Jericho. Welti’s ability to bunt, slap, and hit line drives is a huge plus for a team that hasn’t used the same batting order in any games all season.

Senior center fielder Sydney Reitz’s glove is the place where balls in the gap go to die. At the plate, Reitz bunts well and always seems to find a way to reach base.

Versatile eighth-grader Ashley Boodoo has announced her presence with authority. The fleet-footed Boodoo, who can play a multitude of positions on the field, went 4-for-4 with three doubles in a 7-0 win against Cold Spring Harbor in early April.

Van Kovics believes there’s plenty of room for improvement. “We have to continue to throw strikes, because walks will hurt any team in a big game,” Van Kovics said. “Discipline at the plate needs to get better, too. You don’t want to give away outs. Overall, we’re doing a nice job.”

The Rams return to action this Saturday at Manhasset with the first pitch scheduled for 10:30 a.m.