(photo credit: Peter Carr/The Journal News)
By Debbie Schechter
PEARL RIVER Eastchester senior Danielle Rella hadn’t gotten a hit all day.
That changed dramatically in the top of the seventh inning when she launched a hit that changed the course of the softball game.
Rella’s two-out hit to right-center field, combined with an error, scored Alana Cavielo and Stephanie Fiorello to cap a five-run rally, and the Eagles held on for a 6-5 win over Pearl River Friday.
“I’ve been in a slump all year,” Rella said. “I’ve wanted to beat Pearl River ever since I was a sophomore. All I had to do was get a hit and move someone over. I wanted the hit and I just swung.”
Eastchester coach Chris Walpole felt great for his second baseman.
“She went through her ups and downs,” he said. “The ball was hit hard at her a couple of times and she mishandled a couple of chances. She struggled a little bit early on at the plate. But for her to get the decisive hit, she persevered and came through.”
Pirates pitcher Mandy McCarthy had to give credit to Rella for the hit.
“For her to get a hit is a hit,” McCarthy said. “You tip the hat.”
Pearl River (6-4) was seemingly in control with a 5-1 lead going into the seventh. The Eagles (12-1) put the first two runners on, and Kristen Martin doubled home Ashley Petrone and Danielle Cacciola to cut the lead to 5-3.
McCarthy retired the next two batters before Jennifer Tomany’s base hit knocked in Martin to pull the Eagles within a run. Fiorello reached on an error to keep the inning alive and give Rella a shot.
“I was really excited, but I knew they were a great team,” Cacciola said. “I had to take a deep breath and focus. I went out there and did the best that I could.”
Martin finished 3 for 4 with three RBI. Cacciola struck out nine.
McCarthy allowed four earned runs on 13 hits. She went 3 for 3. Deirdre O’Malley and Gilbride each drove in a run. Sam Alicandri went 2 for 4 and had a double.
Gilbride was left disappointed.
“We saw that they were ranked No. 1 in the state, and we had the game up until the seventh inning,” Gilbride said. “Sometimes things just happen in games and it’s out of our control. We fought.”