If you watch Bronx Science’s softball team enough, you know it’s just a matter of time.
Sometimes it comes early in games, sometimes later. But make no mistake — that big inning is going to come.
Last week against American Studies it took longer than usual. American Studies came into the game against the Wolverines playing some of its best ball of the season. And for the first four innings, it was anyone’s game as Bronx Science clung to a one-run lead.
But then it came. With two outs in the last of the fifth inning, an RBI single by Fiona Sullivan was followed by a two-run homer by Brett Zakheim to key a three-run inning. That was followed by a five-run sixth inning in which four different Wolverines — Alexandra Feeley, Anna Leidner, Alexa Asch and Zakheim — each knocked in at least one run as Science used some late-game offensive thunder to post a 10-3 victory over American Studies.
And, more importantly, lock up its third consecutive Bronx A Division crown.
“I really didn’t expect it today because I thought this game was going to be a 2-1 or 3-1,” Science head coach Thomas Morris said. “I expected it to be a really close game.”
Sullivan, who went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, thought it was a good test for the Wolverines to have to battle through the early innings with American Studies before delivering the late-inning knockout.
“We definitely need to get used to competition and needing to get hits and try to break games open,” Sullivan said. “Softball is normally supposed to be close like that, but we’re not used to close games, so it’s good that we have something we need to get used to and push us to work harder.”
Yes, the Wolverines have not exactly been involved in many close games this season as some of their victories have come by scores of 50-0, 20-0, 27-3 and 19-4, to name but a few. So to be in a nail-biter for four innings was a good test, especially with the playoffs looming later this month when blowout victories are not the norm.
“This was like playoff softball,” Morris said. “It gets you ready for what’s coming.”
But while the Wolverines had to wait longer than usual for their offense to come around, Leidner, Science’s starting pitcher, was her usual dominant self from the start. The junior righthander struck out 10 of the first 11 Senators she faced, finishing with 15 strikeouts in the game.
“It’s been fun to watch her grow,” Morris said. “She just dialed it up to another level. You know you’re going to get that (performance) now. That’s just the level she’s reached. She can just turn it on.”
Sullivan continues to be amazed at Leidner’s mound mastery.
“She’s such an athlete,” Sullivan said. “When she’s pitching, you can see that she’s in the zone. She doesn’t get frustrated, she just sticks with it. It’s really great just to watch her.
“Fifteen strikeouts, that’s a really impressive number.”
So how does it feel to be three-time division champions?
“It feels good,” Morris said. “It’s one of the goals that we set. And that team we beat today, they came ready to play and we knew they would. They had knocked off Lehman and they knocked off IN-Tech, and they have been playing some really good softball.”
There’s more good softball to come with the playoffs beginning the week of May 22.
And Sullivan and the rest of the Wolverines are eager to see what the other boroughs have to offer on the diamond.
“This season is different for us because we haven’t played any teams from the other boroughs yet, which is not like last year,” Sullivan said. “Generally that’s good competition for us. So I think we’re excited to see what teams in the other boroughs are doing.”