The season-high offensive output was more than enough for Valeriano, who allowed both hits in the fourth. She struck out the side in the first and sixth, and fanned at least two in every inning but the third. Over the last 21 innings, she’s allowed eight hits and struck out 47. On April 7, she whiffed 17 Calhoun batters in a two-hit 5-0 shutout victory. Two days prior to that came a 15-strikeout performance in a 6-1 triumph over Hicksville. “Toni’s in a groove,” Muscara said. “She’s attacking hitters and isn’t letting up. She’s hitting spots.”
As dominant as Valeriano has been in the circle, she’s creating headaches for opposing pitchers along with Rizzacasa, Muscara noted. “We’re starting to hit up and down the lineup,” he said. “Christine sets the tone in the leadoff spot. She’s been doing it for a few years.”
Following losses to MacArthur, East Meadow and Massapequa to open the conference schedule, the Lady Pirates took a step in the right direction with a 4-1 victory over Oceanside on April 2. Valeriano, Aliberti and senior Kelcey Taylor cracked two hits apiece to lead the offense.
“If we can keep the bats going, we’ll be in good shape,” Muscara said.