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first_img Published on April 7, 2010 at 12:00 pm Contact Mark: [email protected] | @mark_cooperjr Comments Veronica Grant didn’t find out until Wednesday morning that she would be playing second base for Syracuse against St. John’s. In the doubleheader against the Red Storm, Grant moved from her normal position in center field.Stephanie Watts, SU’s normal second baseman, was unable to play. That meant a quick and unexpected turnaround for the freshman Grant. Before Wednesday, Grant had played middle infield in high school. But since arriving at Syracuse, she had not practiced at the position since the summer.‘Before the game started we sat down and had a little chat, and I said, ‘Roni, you’ve done this all your life, you know what you’re doing,” SU head coach Leigh Ross said. With the switch, Grant was out of position in the field. But she remained a natural at the plate.The freshman’s three-run home run in the fourth inning led the Orange (17-15, 3-2 Big East) to a 6-2 victory in game two against St. John’s (13-18, 2-3), finishing off a sweep of the Red Storm after a 3-2 win in game one. The Syracuse bats gave more than enough run support to freshman Stacy Kuwik, who improved to 4-5 on the season, winning her first start at home in her SU career. Grant did the most damage, finishing with three stolen bases along with the home run. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse jumped out to a quick start despite the domino effect in the field, scoring two runs in the first even with Watts’ absence. Usual reserve Meghan Boston started in right field — hitting a solo blast in the second to push SU’s lead to three. Lisaira Daniels moved to center and Grant occupied second. The quick start from the Orange bats allowed Kuwik to settle in amongst the shuffling of positions behind her and shut down the Red Storm hitters.‘It’s always good to have those insurance runs so that you can just keep your mind clear and cool,’ said Kuwik, who allowed one earned run while striking out five. ‘I knew I just had to get the ball over the plate.’Syracuse ran into some trouble in the fourth, though. With a runner on first, an Amber Curry chopper to second base caused trouble. The way that Grant fielded the ball shielded first baseman Kelly Saco from receiving Grant’s throw until it was too late. The mistake, combined with another error, led to a St. John’s run.Ross pulled Grant aside after the inning, making sure that she would not let that play at the new position linger in her mind. Her freshman was doubting herself.‘In the outfield they do a lot of talking, a lot of moving each other around,’ Ross said. ‘In the infield, they kind of know each other, so they don’t talk as much. Roni was kind of like, ‘I don’t hear anybody. I don’t know what to do.”Ross knew just what to say. For her freshman, she wanted to keep things simple. She wanted to keep things clear. All she needed was three more innings.‘I said, ‘Roni, you know what, I just need you to play second base a few more innings,” Ross said. ‘I’ll get you out of here, I promise.’The talk worked. With two on and two out, Grant drilled a pitch over the right-center field fence — the same place where she hit her first collegiate home run two weeks ago against Buffalo. The home run put Syracuse up 6-1, in a comfortable position with Kuwik in command on the mound.Finally, Grant had settled in.‘You just take the hard swings and you get the sweet part of the bat,’ Grant said. ‘All I’m usually looking for is just gap shots to move the runners over.’But even with the pressure gone, she wasn’t done yet.With just one out to go in the game, Grant snagged a hard-hit ground ball up the middle. She made the off-balance throw to first for the final out.Her time at second was finally over.A success.Said Grant: ‘I think I did OK today without practicing.’[email protected]center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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