Softball: St. Joseph's Hanna Errico something special
Hanna Errico provides the St. Joseph softball team with an instrument of attack that makes the Cadets difficult to defend.
“Speed kills, Hanna uses her speed to get on base via three different styles, bunt, slap and hit,” St. Joseph coach Jeff Babineau said of his junior second baseman. “She is able to incorporate all three into her game plan at the plate, as defense’s try to figure her out. With pitchers knowing her speed, she is able to draw walks as they worry about pitching to her.
“On the bases, she is able to straight steal without using a bunt to move her over. She is very creative on her base running to gain extra length on her secondary lead, which on a misplayed ball she can advance with no contest. She can go first to third on a routine base hit.
“Defensively, Hanna is very sure handed and her quickness allows her to cover ground without giving into a specific defensive spot. She doesn’t have to shade too much and this allows us to have a solid alignment on defense. Short pop ups in the outfield she is able to get to when most would fall in.”
Errico is just trying to fit in.
“I do whatever I can do to get on base or to move runners over,” she said. “It’s what I do. We have power hitters and contact hitters. I try to do the little things to help us win.”
Her specific skill set was on display when fifth-ranked St. Joseph defeated Staples of Westport, 3-0, in an FCIAC game at Dalling Field on Friday. The Cadets improved to 8-1 overall and 6-0 in the FCIAC.
Runs were at a premium, with the Cadets’ Nicole Williams allowing only four hits and the Wreckers’ Emily Lustbader and Cat Connell combining on a five-hitter.
St. Joseph lead-off batter Hannah Hutchison and Errico had base hits in the first inning to set the table for Melissa Bike, whose hit into the outfield resulted in St. Joseph taking a 2-0 lead.
Staples, winners of two straight games, left a runner on base in the second inning. The Wreckers squandered two hits in the third, when Cadet right-fielder Kaitlin Capobianco made a relay throw to shortstop Kayla Giacobbe to trap a runner off base.
St. Joseph needed some breathing room. Errico was there to provide the extra oxygen when she came to the plate with two outs in the fifth inning.
Errico put down a bunt in front of the plate and beat the throw to first. After she stole second, Errico got good jumps on a pair of wild pitches to finish her tour of the bases and take the score to 3-0.
“With Nicole pitching we don’t need a lot of runs,” Errico said. “But any time we can take the pressure off it feels great. This team has bonded well together and everyone plays hard on the field to help each other.”
Which does she prefer — batting with runners on base or with room to maneuver?
“Oh definitely with runners on base,” Errico said. “It gives me more options. I get to feel I did something positive to help the team.”
Errico had three assists and two putouts.
Williams struck out 10, including three straight in the seventh inning.
It wasn’t a dominating performance from the Cadets, but it didn’t need to be.
“We play hard for twenty-one outs, execute every play,” Babineau said. “The players are settled in. I’m happy with them playing good solid softball.”
St. Joseph will be on the road for four consecutive starts, including a visit to Darien High on Saturday at 1 p.m.
St. Joseph defeated Danbury High, 7-1. Nicole Williams pitched a two-hitter and struck out 13. Melissa Bike had two hits and drove in three runs. Kayla Giacobbe had two hits and two RBIs.