Martin K's 10 in Long Beach win
Long Beach starting pitcher Ashley Martin had been in control all afternoon, and with one out in the top of the seventh, she had an out-of-body experience.
Carey's Alissa Schurr lined a pitch to the left of the mound, and Martin nonchalantly stuck out her glove. "I was just staying confident and reacting," she said. "I don't even remember catching it."
Martin did more than just field the ball, she struck out 10 and allowed three hits as the host Marines (3-0, 2-0) won, 4-1, in Nassau Conference AA-I softball.
"Any time you can come out of the gate fast and win some games with solid play, it gives your team confidence," Long Beach coach Carmine Verde said. "We just have to guard against letdowns and losing focus. But we're really happy to start this way."
Martin worked around two walks in the first inning, which she said was a result of not driving off her front leg. Following a leadoff single in the second, Martin did not allow another hit until the sixth.
"I started off a little weak, but I knew I could get it done," Martin said. "It was just about being strong mentally."
The Marines struck in the bottom of the third, scoring the game's first run following consecutive Carey throwing errors. Jamie Morgenstern's sacrifice fly to deep centerfield in the fourth gave Long Beach a 2-0 cushion. In the fifth, Annie Winerip's two-run double put Carey (1-4, 0-1) in a 4-0 hole.
"Right now, the whole lineup is chipping in," Verde said. "If you look at our first three games, we have been getting contributions from one through nine."
The Marines' steady offensive attack has complemented Martin, a workhorse who has started every game thus far. A junior, Martin feels like she took a few leaps forward this offseason.
"I just have to be confident," Martin said. "Last year, I wasn't as confident. Confidence builds you up physically and mentally."
She did not lack for confidence in the seventh, when she gobbled up that liner. It was a stylish ending to an efficient afternoon of pitching.