Monomoy Softball Shakes Rust, Upends Sandwich In Return

By: Brad Joyal

Topics: School Sports , Softball

Monomoy senior Maddie Crossen throws the ball to freshman Alana Ljoko while second baseman Lilly Furman, left, looks on. BRAD JOYAL PHOTO 

SANDWICH – Nobody would’ve been surprised if the Monomoy softball team displayed some rust against Sandwich on Monday afternoon. After all, the Sharks were playing their first game since traveling to Barnstable on April 11.

The two-week layoff was no match for Monomoy, however, as the team’s bats exploded for 15 runs en route to a 15-9 victory at Sandwich.

Although the team might have made it look easy, some players, such as senior Courtney Kelley, said the Sharks needed a little bit of time to get adjusted to being back on the diamond after such a long layoff.

“It was definitely a challenge,” said Kelley, a Chatham resident. “We went two weeks without playing — even touching a ball at all — because we had two cancellations back-to-back before break. It was definitely an adjustment, but I think we were prepared to come out and play how we can play. We were confident that we know how good of a team we are together and we know how we play together.”

Monomoy senior Caroline DiGiovanni finished 4 for 6 with three RBIs — including a two-run home run in the fourth inning — to lead the offensive production. Freshman pitcher Alana Ljoko earned the victory in the circle, striking out seven Sandwich batters.

DiGiovanni and Ljoko are two key contributors that returned from last year’s squad, which advanced to the quarterfinals of the Division 3 South sectional tournament before being ousted by Abington. In fact, the majority of that team has returned this spring.

“Basically our whole starting lineup has been our team for the past few years,” senior short stop Maddie Crossen said. “A lot of us also play with other club teams and stuff, so we’re all very experienced and we work very well together. I’m excited to play some of the more competitive teams that we played last year that were close games and I’m excited for tournament, too.”

Monomoy coach Stacy Yarnall said she can definitely notice a bond between the players.

“There’s chemistry,” Yarnall said. “We have seven seniors that have been together since eighth grade, so there’s a lot of camaraderie. We’re looking forward to the next five weeks and the tournament.”

The coach also praised Ljoko, who returned as a freshman after starting every single game in the pitcher’s circle as an eighth-grader. Yarnall said the right-handed hurler has yet to miss a game, adding that Ljko is “not getting as flustered” as she would last season.

“I think there’s a bit more confidence,” Yarnall said.

Another freshman, Lilly Furman, went 2 for 3 with a single, double and two walks in Monday’s victory, which marked Monomoy’s fourth consecutive victory. Following a 5-3 loss to Dennis-Yarmouth in their season-opener, the Sharks (4-1) bounced back with a 5-4 win over Bourne before thumping Sandwich and Barnstable 15-1 and 12-2, respectively.

Even after an extended break from action, Monday proved the team’s bats can come alive in an instant.

“They were stringing together hit after hit and executing today, so it was good,” Yarnall said.

With so much familiarity and experience throughout the lineup, it’s hard for the Sharks to not look forward to what is yet to come.

“I’m very excited about the rest of the season,” said Crossen, a Harwich resident.

Email Brad Joyal at brad@capecodchronicle.com.

Twitter: @BradJoyal