The textbook called for getting one out. Jersey Outlaws Premier didn’t see it that way.
The batter lays down a beautiful sacrifice bunt. Catcher Alex Haley pounces out after the ball only to give way to charging third baseman Nicole Cerasi, who fields it and fires to second baseman Gigi Venizelos covering first. Venizelos stays alert after making the out and sees the base runner who moved to second was trying to sneak to third. Shortstop Megan Berg is already there, however, and Venizelos fires to third for Berg to catch, drop the tag and end the inning.
A double play and pitcher’s best friend the unconventional way.
Three college coaches were there watching the game at the Team NJ/Rock Fall Showcase, impressed by the Outlaws’ disciplined play. The Outlaws kept the momentum going, too, finishing 4-0 on the weekend for their third straight undefeated tournament. They topped South Jersey Mystics Elite 18U and Witches Showcase by identical 8-0 scores, Jersey Flames Gold, 6-3, and Connecticut Charmers Gold, 4-0, to improve to 16-1 this fall.
The offense has clicked with over seven runs per game and the pitchers have been exceptional with their command and poise. But the Outlaws also have surrendered two or fewer runs 13 times because of their excellence on defense. It shined over the weekend, when infielders were racing to bloopers that could have dropped in or the athletic outfielders were plugging the gaps to keep the few hits harmless.
The Outlaws coaches work the defense relentlessly throughout practices. There’s good reason why.