Above: The EG U-12 Girls Softball team against Vermont Sunday evening.
By Suraj Sait
Despite a rough start, the East Greenwich U-12 Girls Softball team is still alive at the Eastern Regionals, continuing to battle for a World Series berth.
The tournament began on Saturday, when the girls took the field against New Jersey. In the top of the first inning, New Jersey took an early lead, scoring two runs off multiple hits and steals from the lead-off batters. However, the EG girls responded with two runs of their own, with Ava Fairbanks, and sisters Margaret and Cat Neville, contributing to even out the score.
From then on, the game slipped from the hands of the EG girls. Inning after inning, the New Jersey team piled on runs, with the EG girls unable to respond. When all was said and done, the score was 8-2, New Jersey.
“It [just] didn’t get off to a good start,” said Coach Bruce Fairbanks. “I thought the kids were really prepared, ready to go. The other team made the plays and that’s what it came down to.”
The grass field may have also been a factor in the loss. “The grass field threw us off a little bit,” said Coach Fairbanks. “We’re not really used to that kind of stuff.”
The girls were used to playing on a “skinned” or dirt infield. A grass infield slowed the ball down.
There were some bright spots to the game, however. Sachi Chan had a much-needed single, and Cat Neville had an RBI as well.
“Every at-bat was a quality at-bat,” said Fairbanks.
Since the tournament is structured as double elimination, the EG girls still had another chance at the World Series.
Sunday evening, the EG girls took on Vermont in the last game of the day. The stakes were high for both teams; win, and play another day, or lose, and go home.
In the top of the first inning, Emma Manzo led off with a walk, eventually stealing both 2nd and home on her way to the first run of the game. Vermont wasn’t able to respond that inning, and EG kept the momentum going. In the third inning, both Ava and Brooke Fairbanks combined to add two more to the score, making it 3-0. However, Vermont responded as well, with an RBI double that scored one.
At 3-1, the EG girls started to pile on runs. Emma Manzo stole home, Ava Fairbanks had an RBI, and Cat Neville capped off the inning with a 2 RBI single. In the fifth, the EG girls tacked on another run when Emma Manzo stole home for the third time that game.
Vermont was unable to respond, so EG capitalized once more, in the sixth. Nearly every member of the EG team had an at-bat, Emma Manzo had an RBI single, and Teaghan Bristol slammed a 2 RBI double that inning.
“It felt really good,” said Teaghan about her hit. “It really boosted my confidence a lot.”
Throughout the game, pitcher Ava Fairbanks put on a spectacular performance, giving up only two hits: a single and a double.
“I usually don’t do that well,” said Ava Fairbanks. “It felt really good.”
To wrap up the game, Emma Manzo took the mound, causing two ground-outs and one strike-out in New Jersey’s last at-bat. The final score was 12-1.
“We didn’t want to go home,” said Coach Fairbanks after the game. “We executed well. That’s who we are out there tonight. That’s how we play.”
The EG girls won their game Monday too. They play again Tuesday against Massachusetts at 1 p.m. Check back for coverage of the Monday and Tuesday games.