- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Alyssa Bilodeau hardly looks like she’s still in her first year of high school as one of the taller players for the La Plata Warriors.
Her softball talent is also way beyond her freshman age as she can hold her own athletically with anyone at the varsity level while boasting a productive bat, quality glove, strong arm and plenty of poise.
Thursday, Bilodeau showcased her array of skills against the Thomas Stone Cougars with a breakthrough performance befitting of most upperclassmen, playing a lead role in visiting La Plata’s 13-2 nonconference victory that ended in six innings due to the mercy rule.
The weather for the game was unseasonably chilly, but Bilodeau’s bat was not, as she was on base three times in four plate appearances with a double, triple, three RBIs and two runs scored.
Defensively, Bilodeau was also effective while manning shortstop by making all the plays she was presented.
“I think we she’ll be our wildcard this year because not many people know of her and know what she can do,” La Plata senior left fielder Nicole Bonnin lauded of Bilodeau. “She’s just as good as everyone else. She’s works as hard, and I think that she’ll be a very good asset to our team.”
Such praise possesses even more validation given Bonnin’s credentials as a team leader and a fellow weapon in La Plata’s lineup. Bonnin was 3 for 4 versus Stone with a pair of doubles, two RBIs and a run scored from the second spot in the batting order.
“It makes me feel really good, [being labeled the team’s wildcard by Bonnin],” said the versatile Bilodeau, ready to play any position asked of her. “I love being with this team family. Honestly, it’s been great to me. The coaches are great. I feel like I’m at home when I’m with [the team]. They make me a better player.”
Bonnin and Bilodeau weren’t the only Warriors having fun with the bat.
Plenty of their teammates also got in on the act, improving La Plata to a perfect 3-0 record this young season entering Tuesday’s encounter with visiting North Point, a nonconference makeup from a March 25 postponement that finished too late for inclusion into this edition.
Nine La Plata players, including a pinch-hitter, reached base and scored on Stone pitching. Seven of them had hits as La Plata finished with 13 base knocks for the game, seven of them of the extra-base variety.
Senior Sydney Tippett applied the backbreaking blow for La Plata with a towering, two-run home run pulled down the left-field line way over the wall. The shot provided La Plata with an 11-run lead in the sixth, enough to enact the mercy rule.
Tippett also had bunt single and a stolen base earlier in the contest.
Starting pitcher Elizabeth Colburn, catcher Emily Subocz and right fielder/shortstop Kirstin Hall each scored two runs for La Plata like Bonnin and Bilodeau. Subocz and Hall each doubled as well.
“Our hitting is contagious,” Bonnin said. “Last year, I struggled a lot with hitting, so this year I’m out to hit as much as I can because I want to redeem myself.”
Stone, rebuilding this season with a young team, dropped to 0-2 this season.
Positioned in the No. 5 spot of the lineup, Bilodeau bookended La Plata’s six-run second that enabled her team to quickly take control of the game. She reached base to start the frame on a hard grounder to shortstop that was mishandled before ultimately ending the big inning with an RBI double that would have plated a pair of scores if not for her getting thrown out at third before a teammate touched the plate. That was Bilodeau’s only miscue.
In the fourth, she got that two-run triple she was looking for in the second after crushing the ball the other way to deep right-center field.
Perhaps most interesting about Bilodeau’s emergence is it occurred while she was replacing senior Alyssa Peregoy, normally a starter at shortstop or on the mound but was out of commission for preventative reasons relating to her health. Peregoy was expected to return by Tuesday.
La Plata added three runs in the fourth to extend its lead to 9-2, then added another in the fourth before applying the finishing touches with three scores in the sixth. Five Stone errors aided La Plata’s offense, which capitalized on the extra outs.
“We’ve got good enough defense, good enough pitching to contend with anybody,” La Plata head coach Garry Krahling said. “Our nemesis is hitting. So I’m pleased with today because of our hitting, but I also know we’ve got some work to do. We’ve got to get the bats going against really good pitching. We’ve only played three games so far. I like what I’ve seen, but we haven’t seen top-caliber pitching. But that’s OK. I’m pleased with the positive attitudes at the plate.”
Bilodeau pitched the final two innings in scoreless relief with four strikeouts and two hits allowed. Colburn tossed the opening four frames for La Plata with a quartet of strikeouts on four hits allowed with one hit batter, yielding both Stone runs.
“There’s no doubt, she’s supposed to be up here [on varsity],” Krahling said of his Bilodeau. “She’s got a lot of potential and had a really good game today, both offensively and defensively.”
Stone speedster Miranda Wood, the only senior on the club, was 3 for 3 and scored both her team’s runs in the loss. Wood, a slap-hitter from the left side, executed slap singles in each of her at-bats, including a soft liner that got over the third baseman’s head in the third. With her blazing speed, Wood was impossible to throw out once she got the ball down.
She scored in the first and third, giving Stone a brief 1-0 lead until La Plata erupted in the second.
“They’re beasts when they hit. It’s crazy,” Wood said of La Plata’s bats. “I’ve worked a lot of slapping, especially over [last] summer when I went to camp. I’m 7 for 8 in these last two games, so hopefully I can keep that going.”
Stone head coach Dave Reilly added, “We’re very young and we’re improving every game. The score doesn’t indicate it necessarily. Being a young team, we can’t afford to make mistakes like we did in that [second] inning [where we allowed six runs].”