Danny Inscoe contemplated a change to his infield days before a playoff game.
He wanted to move his second baseman, Erin Fox, in place of his starting center fielder. Why the Wakefield softball coach decided against the shift was simple.
“I toyed with it in practice for a few days and what it basically came down to is, ‘That’d be stupid,’ ” Inscoe said. “Don’t move them. Let them do their thing.”
Fox, third baseman Alyssa Lasurdo and shortstop Amanda Dacunto are the team’s only seniors, and they played under Inscoe when he coached at Leesville Road Middle School. The trio has been together their entire high school career, and such chemistry and trust gave the Wolverines the ultimate edge on defense.
“Me and Alyssa, when the ball is hit to our side, we know Erin’s gonna be there. When it’s hit to Erin, she knows I’ve always got her back, and she knows Alyssa’s gonna be there,” Dacunto said. “Being able to play with each other for as long as we have, it makes trusting each other really easy because you always know that they’ll have your back. You don’t have any doubt, so it makes the game feel easier to play. You get to focus on yourself because you don’t have to worry about what the people next to you are doing.”
When I dive and miss the ball, I know Amanda’s gonna be there behind me.
Wakefield’s Erin Fox
Wakefield’s 11-4 victory over Cap-8 Conference mate Millbrook propelled the Wolverines to their first N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A third-round game. But they were eliminated Wednesday in a 7-1 loss to No. 5 Fuquay-Varina.
A double play against the Wildcats May 13 helped spur Wakefield’s big win. In the top of the fifth, Wolverines starter Sara Harmon induced a groundball with the bases loaded. She scooped it up and threw out the runner headed home, and Wakefield’s catcher, Bella Buccellato, threw the base runner out at first.
Dacunto, Fox and Lasurdo have turned quite a few double plays next to each other, which are just some of the things that have stood out in their unique careers together.
“No matter what, our infield is always talking,” Lasurdo said. “It just gets us more excited.”
Lasurdo assisted on two Millbrook outs, both being Wildcats leadoff Adrienne Valero. Dacunto threw out Mariah Mook in the seventh inning, the play following a Millbrook double and two runs. Fox caught an infield fly for the second out of that inning, her second of the game. She also helped on two more outs that game.
The trio was among the best in the Cap-8. Fox’s 36 runs and 22-of-22 stolen bases led the conference, and Dacunto had the best slugging percentage (1.000), leading the team with 31 RBIs.
Just being able to trust each other, whether we’re batting or in the field. It’s a really special friendship, and I think not a lot of people get to experience that.
Wakefield’s Amanda Dacunto
The players’ speed speaks for itself.
“They’re all so confident,” Inscoe said. “Erin, she’s a quite leader. She leads by example. You’ll never have to worry about her. Amanda is vocal, and then Alyssa is hands-on, scrappy. She’s there to remind everybody that … it’s just a game. Individually, they all do something different, but what they bring is what the team needs.”
Lasurdo drew a walk to lead off the second inning of the Millbrook game, and two runs eventually followed her to give Wakefield a 3-0 lead. Dacunto and Fox each recorded two hits to add to the unit’s production on defense.
The three players will now head their separate ways for the first time in a long time, but they’re departing a hopeful team with lasting memories.
“I knew during workouts this was going to be a different team,” Dacunto said of Wakefield, which split its first four games and lost two of the first three conference games. “The first few games we were playing strong competition; we hung in there. Even though we were defeated, we hung in there and that just made us stronger.
“I think we’ve come a long way.”
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan