With a roll of the dice and a Zoom meeting, the Allegany-Limestone and Ellicottville softball teams came together for an unconventional Senior Night on Tuesday.
The brainchild of Ellicottville coach Matt Finn saw softball players rolling dice to simulate the experience of a softball at-bat. Finn had his daughter, who plays for Allegany-Limestone coach Lindsey Hamed, contact the Gators’ second-year mentor.
“I got a text from her that said, ‘Hey, my dad’s got a crazy idea for senior night, can you give him a call?’” Hamed said. “And I have been trying to figure out what to do to kind of get the girls together and give them the recognition that they deserve, so when he came up with the idea, I thought it was awesome to bring another team into it and give them a little virtual game rather than just recognition, keep that competitiveness going.”
FINN SAID he based the game on a friend’s version of Strat-O-Matic baseball.
“It’s kind of the same idea, you roll the dice, whatever the outcome is, that’s what happens,” Finn said. “His is intense, so I toned it down.
“You would never guess this is toned down from what he plays,” he added, holding up the sheet of outcomes. “His is crazy, it’s a 21-sided dice, so it can be an error sometimes.”
In Finn’s game, the pitcher rolls one die and the batter rolls two, and a chart of potential outcomes determines if, say, it was a ground-out to third or a base hit.
“(Finn) even took into (account) your No. 4 hitter typically (hits for) power, so it’s either a home run or they strike out, so he did the analytics behind this grid. He made it very easy,” Hamed said.
Each batter in the order had a different chart of at-bat outcomes.
A-L won the virtual game 10-1, rolling for 16 hits, putting the game away with four runs in the seventh inning on a pair of home runs from Allyson Youngs and Tierney Hemphill.
Allegany-Limestone’s pitchers must have rolled the dice well, holding Ellicottville to one run on three hits. The Eagles scored their lone run with a solo home run from Makenna Smith in the first inning.
AFTER THE fifth inning, the coaches paused the game to allow their seniors a chance to reflect on their softball careers. Allegany-Limestone is set to graduate seven seniors and Ellicottville will graduate five.
A-L’s seniors include Youngs, Jordanne Youngs, Kaitlyn Higby, Madison Smith, Morgan King, Natalie Gutierrez and Hemphill.
“The senior class is the first class that I’ve really gotten to know over the past couple years,” Hamed said. “I’ve been lucky enough, I know a lot of them outside of softball as well. So I was crushed when they said the season was over and I knew how much they’d be hurting. So to be able to give them one more time to all be together as a team and see each other as a team, just to kind of play the sport again, I loved to be able to do that. To give them one last chance, one last at-bat, one last time to be with their friends, it’s not the same obviously as being able to get them all in person, but I really, really loved this group of girls and being able to coach them. They’re all just great kids and each one of them brings something different.”
Ellicottville’s seniors include Cam Earley, Evelyn Nuzzo, Smith, Megan Stuve and Sammi Van Wicklin.
“I went down to Little League eight years ago and some of these kids have been with me that long — seven, eight years,” Finn said. “So these seniors are going to be missed, for sure. Like coach (Hamed) said, they all bring something different, they all bring a different part whether it be leadership on the field or off the field or the desire to play the game or the enthusiasm they show their teammates. It’s sad that it had to end for them this way, but at least it was nice to get them together and see their faces again.”
(Salamanca Press sports editor and Times Herald sports writer Sam Wilson may be contacted at email@example.com)