By Phil Terrigno
(Photo Credit: Seth Harrison/The Journal News)
Her 16 wins (one for each victory undefeated Tuckahoe has this year) and 155 strikeouts in 97 varsity innings aren’t average stats for an eighth-grader.
McGrath’s excellence combined with a booming offense has allowed Tuckahoe to dominate its schedule.
“I bow down to her for doing such an amazing job,” senior Lexi Kargbo gushed. “I look up to Cassie even though she’s younger than me. She does what she has to on the field. It doesn’t matter how old you are or what grade you’re in if you can play.”
The offensive pop that has given Tuckahoe at least a 10-run cushion in 12 of its 16 wins this year was on display in a nine-run first inning against Yonkers Montessori Tuesday.
Mary Ehring smashed a bases-loaded triple and Kargbo launched a three-run homer to dead center several batters later as the Tigers cruised to a 10-1 win.
“Lexi is a really solid hitter and a clutch hitter,” Tuckahoe coach Amy Delsavio said. “And she goes near the cycle every game; it seems there’s always that one hit she’s missing.”
Tuckahoe’s huge win margin hasn’t been kept secret — the Tigers are ranked fourth in the state in Class C, and picked up a benchmark win against Rye Neck on May 4.
“We’re in a league now where there are some challenging days and some days that we use to work on our skills,” said Delsavio, a former Tuckahoe player in her first-year as its head coach. “To see our ranking not just in the Westchester bubble (but) the whole state, it’s really pretty impressive for the girls.”
Aside from it’s Rye Neck win, tussles against Mount Vernon and Saunders were the only other close contests the Tigers have had.
In terms of capturing its first section title since the 2001 Tuckahoe team Delsavio played on, Haldane — which ousted the Tigers in last year’s Class C semifinal — is once again Tuckahoe’s biggest threat.
“In last year’s game against Haldane, I pitched horribly,” McGrath said. “I remember it. My one focus this year besides Rye Neck is to beat Haldane, to come back stronger and have them say, ‘Oh, this girl got better.’ ”
“I’m trying to get a ring,” Kargbo said. “I want some bling-bling. I’m ready for it. Tuckahoe softball hasn’t gone very far in a while. We’re trying to be the team that makes it.”
Althought I was at the game to cover Tuckahoe, here are a few notes about YMA – a first year varsity program – for the fans interested.
Freshman Brianna Murphy allowed one run in five innings of relief work. The Tigers tagged the YMA started for nine runs before Murphy, who was supposed to be resting her arm, came in.
“I had to really focus because nine runs in the first inning wasn’t what we (wanted),” Murphy said. “I was very motivated because I knew we could do better than that.”
Junior Melanie Boine, about Murphy: “She has a positive attitude and she pitches extremely well for someone in her grade level and age. Very motivating and she keeps the girls going.”
The Eagles have a series of cheers that they perform during the game and in between innings. While I know this might be a part of softball culture, I haven’t seen it done extensively among Section 1 teams.
“It started because we noticed that it was very quiet on the bench,” Boine said. “No one was talking. We decided to do the chanting. Not only did it motivate our team members but it helped us interact with people we weren’t interacting with. Coach liked it and it kept our spirits up.”