WICCOPEE - Turmeric, cumin, or maybe even barbecue rub. Depending on which field it is, of course.
The dirt covering Arielle Reddick’s softball uniform on Thursday added a little flavor — seasoning if you will — during her at-bats.
“It was unpleasant at first, but after a while it starts to taste like gum,” the John Jay-East Fishkill catcher said of her jersey. “It’s becoming a daily thing.”
Reddick, coach Larry Brooks said, tended to raise her head early as pitches approached, which threw off the swing mechanics and often caused her to pull off the ball. He suggested to her that biting the jersey collar, thus keeping her chin down, might be helpful.
“She started chewing on it,” teammate Hannah Greer said with a laugh. “It’s become a habit.”
Well, it seemed to work well for Kobe Bryant. Besides, anything can be considered cuisine if given a French-sounding name. We’ll call this, le chemise au gratin.
And that uniform being well-seasoned meant she was cooking.
Reddick went 3 for 3 with four RBI and she helped guide Nicole Barosa through a shutout, leading the Patriots in a 10-0 win over 11th-seeded Fox Lane in the first round of the Section 1 Class AA playoffs.
The sophomore adopted the new method last week and has been pleased with the results thus far.
“It’s clearly working,” Greer said. “She’s been hitting the snot out of the ball.”
The sixth-seeded Patriots advance to face No. 3 North Rockland in a quarterfinal Saturday.
“Getting a win like this is a great way to start sectionals,” Barosa said. “With our offense doing this well, it gives us a boost of confidence going forward.”
What it means
Perhaps even more impressive than the offense was Barosa’s performance, the right-hander mixing her pitches well and working efficiently to stifle the Foxes.
The junior was thrust into this role as the full-time starter when Isabella Annunziata was lost to injury before the season. There have been ups and downs throughout the season but, Brooks said, Barosa has gradually improved and pitched well down the stretch.
That, obviously, bodes well for this team going forward, and even into next season.
“The first inning I was a little nervous and the field was kind of muddy, so I had to get used to it,” she said. “But after I settled down, I was fine.”
Barosa escaped a first-inning jam after Fox Lane had runners at first and third with one out, and the Patriots quickly jumped on the board in the next frame.
Emma Barton singled and Deanna DeCaro walked, then Greer’s hard grounder resulted in an error that allowed Barton to score. DeCaro stole home, and Lyla Dwyer later walked to load the bases. Reddick, keeping her chin tucked, lined a two-run opposite-field single to right that made it 4-0.
“I’ve been doing it for five games, and it’s helped,” Reddick said of the gnawing. “It’s a great time, especially being able to drive in runs in a sectional game.”
Brianna Call made a spectacular over-the-shoulder-catch, about a step in front of the fence in left, to take away an extra-base hit in the fourth inning.
John Jay scored twice in the third and Greer drove in Sabrina Castelli with a double to make it 7-0 in the fourth. Reddick’s sacrifice fly in the sixth created the margin.
Player of the Game
Barosa scattered five hits and two walks and struck out five in the complete game. She spotted her fastball well and kept the Foxes off balance with her changeup and screwball.
“I’ve been working toward this for a while, always trying to get better,” she said. “It’s good for it to happen in sectionals… The team scoring early definitely helped me relax.”
Brooks lauded Barosa’s composure and even-keel demeanor. Greer playfully called her “a straight-faced monster.”
“She doesn’t show much emotion,” the shortstop said, “but you know she’s locked in and giving us everything she’s got.”
By the numbers
Fox Lane — Grace Cleveland was 2 for 2 with a double and Hannah Getman went 1 for 2 with a walk. Shortstop Quoya Schnell made a wow-worthy diving catch of a liner up the middle to start a double play in the second.
John Jay (11-9) — Greer went 1 for 2, with two walks, three runs and an RBI. Castelli was 2 for 3 with a walk and a run. Camryn O'Connor went 1 for 2 with a double, two walks, a stolen base and a run, and Barton was 1 for 2 with a sacrifice bunt and a run.
“This is a big win for us, the kind that can give us momentum,” Greer said. “Nobody is expecting much of us in the playoffs, so we want to prove people wrong. This was a good first step. It was our last home game of the season and it was a fun way to go out.”
Stephen Haynes: email@example.com; 845-437-4826; Twitter: @StephenHaynes4
This article originally appeared on Poughkeepsie Journal: Softball: Reddick, Barosa lead John Jay-EF in playoff rout of Fox Lane