MAMARONECK, N.Y. Rye Neck softball coach Joan Spedafino has never hesitated when it comes to promoting a promising underclassman and putting her in the starting lineup.
Freshman Diana King earned a starting position out of preseason and she has proven to be the Panthers catalyst. Offensively, Spedafino showed how highly she thought of King by putting her in the lead-off spot.
Coach Sped showed a lot of faith in me by putting me there and I have to do my job, which is to get on base, King said.
In Rye Necks 6-0 win over Dobbs Ferry in a Section 1 Class B Softball Championship semifinal on Thursday, King was the initiator.
King tripled, doubled and singled and scored three runs. She triggered a four-run third inning with a lead-off double, and in the fifth, Kings one-out triple off the fence in center field resulted in her scampering home on a Jessica Calvini sacrifice fly.
Diana is an amazing player and it is crazy to think that she is only a freshman, said Calvini, a five-year varsity starter, who tossed a five-hitter with 12 strikeouts. Diana consistently gets on base and consistently sets up innings for us.
King, who was promoted to varsity for sectionals last year, found herself in a two-strike hole in the third inning, but battled back to even the count before ripping a scorching bouncer down the third-base line for a double. King would score the first run on a Calvini single.
I struck out looking in my first at-bat so I know I didnt want to do that again, said the poised King. I let it go and in my next at-bat, I just wanted to hit the ball like I did in our other game with Dobbs Ferry.
Rye Neck returns to the sectional final for the fourth consecutive year and King is hoping for a reversal of last years final against Valhalla, Saturday.
I am glad to be part of this again, especially with our seven seniors and especially playing Valhalla, again, King said. It is going to be a really good game.
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