By Benito Vila
It was truly a tribal experience in Mashashimuet Park yesterday evening, over 100 voices cheering, Pierson varsity softball down 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth in game two of the Class C championship series, Lady Whalers at second and third, one out, needing a run to tie and a win to take the title.
That’s as good as it got for the home side, Port Jefferson Lady Royal pitcher Michiko McGivney setting down two Pierson batters on strikes and keeping her team in the lead. McGivney then put the game out of reach in the top of the seventh, a bases-loaded, two-out single to left putting the Lady Royals up 8-4 and coolly quieting the Lady Whaler faithful.
In the bottom of the seventh, Sam Federico started up the cheers again, smacking a single to right, taking second when Katie Osiecki also socked a one-out single to right. But then the promising rally came undone, a quick shortstop-to-second-to-first double play killing any chance of a Pierson comeback.
The best-of-three Class C series now even, one game apiece, the Lady Whalers travel to Port Jefferson tomorrow for game three of the series. Pierson took game one there Saturday, 5-2, Federico and Kaci Koehne sparking the attack and pitcher Melanie Stafford keeping the defense sharp in throwing a complete game five-hitter.
The winner of tomorrow’s series finale moves into the state tournament and the “Super Regional” semi-finals at Mitchell Field in Hempstead on Tuesday, June 9. That semi-final match-up pits the Suffolk Class C Champ against the Nassau champ at 1 p.m., the winner there playing a regional final at 4 p.m.
After yesterday’s loss, Lady Whaler coach Melissa Edwards said she would focus on hitting and fielding work in practice today. Looking ahead to tomorrow’s do-or-die contest, she added, “We will continue to work on building our confidence at the plate and our reactions to the ball in the field. Bloop hits that fell in and quiet bats let the game get away. We go there knowing we hit first. We know we need to attack early and we plan to. And when we get in the field, we have to move a whole lot better to keep them off base.”
In describing the game one win, Coach Edwards reported, “We got on the bus ready to win, and the whole bus ride there I felt something different with this team. They were all upbeat and smiles. We got to the field, did our warm-ups and got ourselves ready to go.”
“We jumped up early, scoring three in the first inning. Natalie [Abbene] led off with a single that got us fired up, then Kaci and Sam singled. With Sam’s single scoring Natalie. Katie came up and hit a single to score Sam and Kaci.”
The Pierson girls put together a two-run rally in the fourth, Coach Edwards recounting, “Nat led off with a single, Kara [Gengarelly] singled, and then Sam Fed hit a bomb to left, a triple, that scored both Nat and Kara.” On the day, Federico went three-for-four, with Koehne, Pintauro, Abbene and Osiecki all going two-for-four.
Coach Edwards said afterwards, “It was a great day for our bats. Nat sparked the game right from the beginning by beating out a bunt, Sam’s triple in the fourth was a monster, and Melanie’s pitching was great. She hit her spots and our defense was there behind her all game with great plays by Sam, Katie and Nat in particular.”