But then, when, of late, has it been for Pearl River?
The Pirates, who barely made it out of the sectional quarterfinals (a 1-0 win over No. 8 Nanuet), are now heading to the state semifinals.
Their parents? Well, they probably need ever minute stretching between Saturday’s nine-inning, come-from-behind win over Section 9 Marlboro and this coming Saturday’s game vs. Section 11’s Sayville just to breathe.
Below are photos by John Meore and my story about the Pirates’ latest miracle win and some extra notes. –Nancy
THIELLS The question going into Saturday’s Class A regional final between Pearl River and Section 9 Marlboro wasn’t so much how good the two squads were but, rather, how many rabbits Pearl River had left in its hat.
After winning the Section 1 title by one run on late-game errors by Brewster, the Pirates scored two runs in the eighth, then hung on for a one-run win over Section 4’s Maine-Endwell in Friday’s regional semifinal.
Saturday, the Pirates blew a three-run lead, trailed by one with two outs in the seventh, then, after tying it, won 8-5 in nine innings.
The win means the 23-3 Pirates will play Section 11 Sayville in the state semifinals Saturday at Moreau Recreation Park in Glens Falls.
That trip appeared doubtful in the seventh inning at North Rockland High after Marlboro took a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the sixth with Amber Mianti singling home Melissa Sadler.
Taylor Felicello hadn’t allowed a run since replacing starter Aubrey Bianco in the second inning.
“Honestly, it doesn’t get much bigger than that,” Pearl River coach Chris Woolgar said.
Winning pitcher Mandy McCarthy (below), who enjoyed a 4-1 lead until Allison Swartz’s two-out, three-run, fifth-inning homer, gave up a two-out double to Swartz in the bottom of the seventh before retiring Cassie LaPointe on a fly to center.
“I was just looking to keep us going. … I knew as soon as we put runs on the board, we’d be able to shut them down,” McCarthy said.
After a Turilli single, McCarthy scored on an error. Colleen McCoy then grounded to second baseman Ashley Votta, who threw home. But Turilli slid right, beating Swartz’s tag.
The extra run loomed imporant when Marlboro put two on before McCarthy got the last two hitters on an infield pop and a comebacker.
Notes: The game was tied 1-1 after one inning with McCarthy and Bianco each with an RBI. Pearl River went ahead 4-1 in the second. With two outs and a one-two count on her, Sam Alicandri singled to center, driving in Caroline Kardashian (who’d walked) with the Pirates’ second run. Woods then hit a hot-shot to second that Votta booted and Kirsten McGarvey, who’d singled, scored, along with Alicandri, who’d advanced to second on her hit when the Iron Dukes threw back to third, hoping to get McGarvey, who’d strayed a little toward home. Despite the fact two of those runs were unearned, Marlboro coach Jennifer Veronesi then lifted Bianco. She later explained that when she went out to talk to Bianco, the starter said she “didn’t feel her strongest.” She made the move because of that and to “change the pace,” she explained. … Felicello is no stranger to pitching. She usually pitched the last one or two innings of Marlboro’s games. Saturday marked her longest stint of the season. Her coach was pleased with her performance, noting Felicello was confident, hit her spots and had her change working. … Veronesi said Turilli’s season-saving hit came off a good pitch. Turilli noted she went with an outside pitch. “I didn’t think they were going to get it but I was still nervous when I was running,” Turilli said. … Turilli also had the walk-off hit in the Pirates’ win over Nanuet. “She has never let me or the team down. She always comes through in the big spot. … I think she thrives for the big moment,” Woolgar said of the freshman, who played JV last year. “When her back is against the wall, … she’s going to fight to take a good swing. She sees the ball well,” remarked Woolgar, who said when he promoted her from fifth in the order to fourth late in the season it helped his entire lineup. He said Turilli, who doesn’t play the field, has matured to the point where, when sitting in the dugout, she thinks about what she should do during her next at-bat, rather than dwell on an out she made. Woolgar also pointed out that when Turilli scored the Pirates’ eighth run, she did so eluding the tag and reaching with one hand to scrape the plate, despite the fact the ball beat her. “That’s a play I’d expect maybe from Sam or Erin, two five-year seniors,” he said. “That’s a huge cushion. The slide home is going to be overlooked by many but it’s appreciated by 15 Pirates in blue.” … Votta led off the ninth for the Iron Dukes but saw her at-bat cut short by a beautiful play by Alicandri, who pursued Votta’s foul pop behind third and reached over the fence to haul it in. Of the catch, Woolgar said, “It really settles things down. Defense wins championships,” he added. … Woods had three steals (one pictured with Marlboro shortstop Andrea Schoomaker trying to make the tag), her last being the big one in the seventh after she drew a one-out walk. She continued being aggressive on the base paths, bolting to third on McCarthy’s sharp ground-out to short before scoring on Turilli’s three-bagger. “The inning is not possible if Woods does not get on base,” noted Woolgar, who added of Woods getting to third, “One thing we’ve been able to do is pick each other up.” … Sometimes things that happen early are lost when games go to extra innings. One big play occurred in the bottom of the third after Votta drew a walk from McCarthy on a close 3-2 pitch. But Votta’s stay at first was short. With Bianco up, Pirate catcher Dee O’Malley picked Votta off first. In trying to dive back to the bag, Votta dove into Kardashian, who then applied the tag. … Another good defensive play occurred in the fourth when Colleen McCoy knocked down LaPointe’s bullet to third, then fired to first to get LaPointe, who was leading off the inning. The play loomed larger when Sadler followed with an infield single. … Marlboro also had some star-them moments in the field. With McCoy (walk) on third and McGarvey (double) on second with one out in the sixth, Jules Madigan hit a hard grounder to third. LaPointe threw across the diamond to first to Bianco, who then fired home to Swartz, who tagged out McCoy to complete the double play and end the inning . … Woolgar, who took over the Pirates one game into the current season after starting the year as the assistant, has coached many of his players on teams outside the school. Of now going to states, he said, “For me, it’s pretty special to be on this ride with them.” … Saturday’s semi against the Golden Flashes is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Moreau’s field C. The Section 2 Troy Flying Horses play the Section 6 Williamsville South Billies at the same time in the other Class A semi on field D. The championship game will follow at 5:30 p.m. on field A.