Mama Mia, Lady Rams a big softball hit, winning 2 of their first 3 opening games

Published: Thursday, April 13, 2017 By: Michael Iachetta Source: Westmore News

Mama Mia! What a hit!

No, we're not talking about the long-running smash Broadway musical hit "Mama Mia" based on the songs of the 1970s Swedish Euro top  pop musical group  ABBA currently making its sensational dinner theatre debut as the 200th MainStage production at the Westchester Broadway Theatre in Elmsford.

That "Mama Mia" has a solid lineup with nine professional Actors Equity performers in the leads and 18 infectious songs like "Dancing Queen" and "Mama Mia" setting the tone for what is essentially a  feel-good story about two generations of women, a mother and a daughter, coming of age in unlikely circumstances

Cue the Lady Rams

No, the Mama Mia we are talking about here is head Lady Rams softball coach Jeanine Maiolini, a mama-to-be-a in her sixth month of pregnancy, and her assistant, local mom DeAnne Ostrowski, whose Port Chester team shows signs of really coming of age with more hits--20 out of 31 at bats--than the WBT production.

And that is going some because "Mama Mia" ran for 5,773 performances on Broadway before ending its 14-year Broadway run in 2015, and the Lady Rams epic 26-15 win over Mount Vernon (MV) at home Monday only seemed to last that long.

In a way each one of the five innings in that Lady Rams hit parade seemed to play out their own version of musical numbers from the WBT "Mama Mia " with songs like I Do,  I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" (that's 5 if your are counting), "Our Last Summer," "Slipping Through My Fingers," "Super Trouper," "Take a Chance on Me," "The Name of the Game," "The Winner Take In All," "Under Attack" and "Voulez-Vous" (as in French for do you wish).

Name that tune

How come those songs sound relevant to the Lady Rams?

Well, the Lady Rams did and did and did and did some more with freshman wunderkind Brooklyn  (BK) Ostrowski, the P.C. All-Section center fielder, doing her mom, DeeAnne, a former Naval Academy pitching ace, proud by going four for four, a single, a triple, two home runs and eight runs batted in against MV.

Those are the kind of stats more typical of her Abba, Jason (Jay), a former All-Navy slugger and semi-pro., Abba, of course, being the ancient biblical word for father with  an additional affectionate, sentimental meaning  something along the lines of Daddy.

So much for starting to come of age because Brooklyn--whose Abba started her swinging a rattle like a baseball bat almost from the cradle-- has already won an athletic scholarship to Fordham University. 

And BK has really only just begun to show true signs of high school greatness even though she has been starting for the Lady Rams since the seventh grade and remains under the radar with the so-called Westchester sports experts who don't yet rate her anywhere near the area's top 10 players although they should.

More leading ladies

As for the "Our Last Summer" tune: It is the last girls of summer go-around for senior All-League pitcher Carsen Swallen who went three for three against MV with two singles, a double and four RBIs, and senior speed merchant and ex-Track &Field sprinter Christina Chumpitazi who went four for five with four singles and two stolen bases.

As for the "Super Trouper"  and "Take a Chance on Me"P.C.  players who personify those songs, sophomores Kyah Kramer and Leah Yusi both went two for two against MV with Yusi--whose bro, Armond, starts for the baseball Rams--also wound up walking three times and scoring five runs.

Then there's the "Mama Mia" tunes "The Name of the Game" and "The Winner Takes In All." So the name of the game is still winning, and the Lady Rams want to take it all for their own Mama Mia, Jeanine Maiolini, the P.C. physical education teacher who has been nurturing the talent on this team from their virtual high school athletic infancy and has seen them make the playoffs every year during the five years she has been coaching.

But they have yet to get very deep into the playoffs and seem always "Under Attack" in the sense that the so-called experts never rank them anywhere near the Westchester-Rockland area's top 10  teams with league rival Yorktown making that list this year along with John Jay-East Ketcham, Lakeland,  Pearl River, Suffern, North Rockland, Ursuline, Hendrick-Hudson, Brewster and Ketcham in that order and Port Chester nowhere in sight.

Win one for Jeanine

Only this year the Lady Rams want to crack the top 10, think they have the talent to do so and know wishing won't make it so . So if they really wish to "Voulez Vous" in Mama Mia To Be-a Maiolinini's first year back from an auto accident that cost her the entire last season when DeeAnne Ostrowski subbed for her., they know they have to work harder  than ever before.

 That means the entire P.C. starting nine , --from seniors Kaylan Pinnix, Autumn Antonio and Kasey Lopez to juniors Faith Hudson, Reanna  Rosenfeld,  Leslie Umanzor and Marissa Arminio to sophomore Brianna Zuccarelli--has to really step up to the plate the way the nine professional Equity actors are stepping up at the plate for  the enjoyably song-and-dance-filled "Mama Mia" at the Westchester Broadway Theatre.

And,  oh ,baby., Mama Mia, have the Lady Rams been stepping up to the plate to date. Especially since going into the season so far, they have had just four practices outside on the dirt, so to speak, because of the inclement weather that kept them confined to working out indoors inside the high school gym.

Finally hit the dirt

Despite that lack of outdoor playing time, the Lady Rams have looked ultra-impressive in winning two of their first three games. They beat Carmel 7-2 in their home season  opener last Wednesday (April 29), for example, with Swallen pitching a two-hitter while striking out six batters and also belting out a double with 3 

RBIs. Arminio went three for three and stole a base and Chumpitazi swiped three bases.  So they looked good for starters. But they lost to Rockland County powerhouse Clarkstown South 4-2 in extra innings Friday (April 31) at home with Swallen, Ostrowski, Kramer and Chumpitazi making the key hits and plays  that kept the Lady Rams in the game all the way. But coming  close doesn't add up to winning.

"We left too many runners on base and didn't get the job done that time around," Maiolini said in summing up that Clarkstown game. But they seem to have worked out a lot of those problems in their latest game against MV by running up a football-like score while getting just about the entire lineup into the game.

But still. Maiolini isn't anywhere near satisfied. She  likes her team's energy level, but still wants them to focus, focus, focus and that starts from batting and infield  practice to staying involved in everything that is going on in the dugout as well as on the field as well as throughout the game.

Eye long-running hit

"There is still a lot of work that needs to be done," Maiolini said after the MV game. "It is still early in the season and there is no doubt in my mind that we will get there.  But there are still lots of pieces in the puzzle  that have yet to fit together, not just a few of them. I'm looking forward to watching these girls play when all the pieces of the puzzle fit and we become the team we are capable of becoming. And yet we are already playing well. We seem to be improving as a whole. And I'm excited to see what the rest of the season holds for us."

Mama Mia, so are we. The  curtain goes up on the Lady Rams next act Monday (4/10) at 11 a.m. at home against league rival Horace Greeley followed by two away games against Sleepy Hollow Wednesday (4/12) and Harrison Friday (4/14) at and 3 p.m. respectively. 

By then hopefully all  those pieces of the puzzle will be in place and the Lady Rams will have their act together with as many hits in their bats as there are hit songs in "Mama  Mia." That hit show runs at WBT through June 25. And who knows, the Lady Rams could be still playing close to that time by going deeper into the playoffs than ever before.