By Ryan Fennell
Holmdel – Without an offense firing on all cylinders, it’s tough to beat a team like Saint John Vianney (11-2).
Add the loss of your starting shortstop to injury and the deck is stacked.
That was the case for Red Bank Regional on Tuesday when they traveled to Holmdel to take on SJV for the second time this season, looking for some redemption from an 18-0 drubbing earlier in the season.
While the Bucs’ managed to stay in the game through the first three innings, the Lady Lancers opened it up in the fifth for an 11-0 victory.
Red Bank Regional was without its starting shortstop, junior Rebecca Pryzwara, who went down last Wednesday against Middletown North with a possible concussion after a collision in short-center field.
New protocol for high school softball mandates that after a player visits a doctor in connection with a potential concussion, the player is automatically ineligible to participate for one week. After one week, the team must follow concussion procedures and testing that could add an additional five days before the player can resume play.
Red Bank started second baseman Breanna Hartman at shortstop against Holmdel last Thursday and again on Tuesday against SJV. Designated Player Katie Serkus took over at second.
“I think if we had [Pryzwara] against Holmdel we could have won that game,” Red Bank Regional head coach Denise D’Esposito.
The Bucs fell, 7-6, in its game against Holmdel last Thursday, one day after losing Pryzwara.
“We’re down our shortstop, which really hurts because now we’re trying to put people in places they haven’t really played yet,” D’Esposito said. “That was the key today [against SJV], just trying to get people comfortable.
“It was a whole different lineup the last two games,” she added. “It’s been tough, but that’s what we’re working on.”
Sophomore Katie Beriont was stellar on the mound for Saint John Vianney, striking out 12 in five innings. Beriont did not allow a hit but issued three walks.
She also helped her own cause, reaching base in all three of her at bats with a single, a double, and a walk.
The Lancers picked up two runs in the second inning on a leadoff double by Katie Baron, who moved to third on a single from Beriont. Baron scored on Erica Krumbine’s groundout to second. Beriont moved to third on the play and came home to score on a passed ball later in the inning.
The Lancers added three more runs in the third to take a 5-0 lead. Kristen Solari scored on a double to deep left by Baron. Zoe Otterman, who reached on a fielder’s choice earlier in the inning, scored on a single from Krumbine and Baron scored the third run of the inning on another passed ball by Red Bank Regional.
SJV added one in the fourth before breaking the game open in the fifth to end the game with an 11-0 lead.
“I think we’re starting to hit our stride,” said Saint John Vianney assistant coach Joe Carter. “[Beriont] was injured to start the year and is starting to get healthy and our seniors are starting to come through.
“Today was a tough game,” he added. “Red Bank played tough. They were in the game until the last couple of innings.”
Red Bank threatened in the top of the fourth, down 5-0, when Beriont issued a pair of walks to put runners on first and second, but the Bucs’ offense was unable to capitalize when Beriont struck out the side to end the inning.
“This (SJV) is a quality team,” D’Esposito said. “I’m glad we stayed with them. For a team like this we needed some offense. So a combination of our shortstop out, mixing people around, and no offense – no win.”
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