Tuckers’ Thompson Sisters Take Over

Desirée Keegan

Jaden Thompson and her younger sister, Aniah, tacked on the triples to trigger two four-run and one three-run rallies in Mattituck’s 13-3 win over visiting Port Jefferson Monday.

Jaden Thompson, a senior, finished 3-for-4 with two RBI-triples and three runs, while Aniah, a sophomore, also scored three times and finished 3-for-3 with an RBI-triple and RBI-single. The Tuckers (9-1 overall, 6-1 League VI), which won their fourth in a row, are batting over .400 as a team, according to head coach Kim Gerstung.

“We’re very aggressive. They’re coming alive, and I’m very happy,” Gerstung said, adding it’s been unique working with a pair of sisters. “They’re not afraid to go after it, reach for those extra bases. They’re supporting each other, and it’s great.”

She said Jaden especially doesn’t hold back, hurling her scoops from third base  to her sister across the diamond at first.

“I didn’t think Aniah could handle Jaden’s throws,” she said, laughing. “But she stepped up and proved that she could.”

Senior Ashley Perkins put her bat on the ball first, singling in the second inning to get things going after a three-up, three-down opening inning for the Tuckers. She advanced to second on a passed ball at the plate. Aniah Thompson smacked an RBI-triple and scored on a sacrifice bunt by Bridget Ryan two batters later to put Mattituck up 2-0 after two innings.

“We’ve been hitting great,” said Perkins, who also finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs. “We start off slow, but come back to prove how well we can hit.”

Both sides were retired in order in the third before Jaden Thompson got the ball rolling again in the fourth. After her lead-off single, she stole second and third before Perkins brought her home on a ground-rule double. Perkins advanced on Aniah’s foul ball in the dirt, and the sophomore was able to advance to first, giving Ana Farr a chance to stretch the lead with no outs. The freshman delivered a hit to right that allowed Perkins to tag up and reach home standing up. An overthrow the plate proved costly, and Thompson was able to cross easily for a 5-0 advantage.

Back at first, Aniah Thompson snagged a line drive to give Mattituck a defensive boost to open the top of the fifth. Jaden made the next play with a stop in the dirt before firing the ball to her sister for the second out.

“Having her at first this season definitely helps,” Jaden said. “It’s still a learning experience, but I know what she can do when she needs to.”

Her younger sister said while the two have their moments, she’s learned a lot.

“I try to focus on the ball,” Aniah said. “Some days I have trouble, but seeing Jaden perform the way she does helps me bring my ‘A’ game.”

Port Jeff was just getting warned up though. A walk and line drive to right set up a bases-clearing double to close the gap to 5-2. But that didn’t last long. Dominque Crews bunted and beat out the throw to first, and advanced to second on another wild pitch before Jaden Thompson’s RBI-triple to deep right field, which fell just feet short of becoming her eighth home run of the season. The wind held it in. Perkins’s base hit scored her and Aniah Thompson’s RBI-single brought Perkins home to give Mattituck a commanding 9-2 lead.

“I’m here for my team, so I try to do my best, think it through — what I want to do, where I want to place the ball — move everyone over,” Jaden said. “We motivated each other, kept pushing through. We have speed on this team, so when we see those chances to grab extra bases we know we can.”

The All-County returnee tacked on her second RBI-triple in the bottom of the sixth, scoring after a Port Jeff error. Gerstung said she trusts Thompson’s judgement rounding the bases in those moments.

“She’ll look at me when she’s coming to third, but if I tell her to turn and look, she’s on her own,” the coach said. “And at that moment she was thinking, ‘I’m going home.’”

Aniah hit a line drive through the gap into left before Farr’s base hit to shallow right brought her home for a 12-2 lead.

Mattituck just missed making the playoffs last year, and that’s made the team hungrier to get there this time around. With how many runs the team is racking up each game this season, outscoring teams 109-70, that goal is realistic.

“We’re doing a lot better than expected,” Perkins said. “And I think we’re only getting better.”

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