Section 1’s softball season came to an official close Saturday.
Pearl River, the section’s top seed in Class A, came up short in the state semifinals, falling to Sayville of Section 11 4-2.
Below are my game story and photos with some extra notes. –Nancy
MOREAU Pearl River lived all season by its defense and had survived to play in the state Class A semifinals with late-inning and extra-inning magic.
But Saturday all the magic belonged to Section 11’s Sayville, which scored two unearned runs in the top of the seventh, then squashed a potential Pearl River comeback to win 4-2 at Moreau Recreation Park.
Section 6’s Williamsville South won the championship with a 21-4 win over Sayville.
The Pirates (23-4) put runners on base in all but two innings.
But lefty Julia Simpson, who went five innings, and righty reliever and winner Allie Petillo never appeared to be in serious trouble.
“They were keeping us off balance, changing it up a lot,” senior Sam Alicandri said.
“I thought the big move in the game was bringing the reliever in,” said Pearl River coach Chris Woolgar, who noted Petillo threw harder.
Sayville tagged starter Mandy McCarthy for two first-inning runs on Kristen Bricker’s one-out single.
The score remained 2-0 until McCarthy doubled (photo below) in Jules Madigan and Alicandri with two outs in the fifth.
“The outfield doesn’t normally play that deep. Normally that would be over their heads. We were just unlucky,” Woolgar said.
It got worse for the Pirates in the seventh.
After Bricker drew a two-out walk, McCarthy got Petillo to pop up in front of home plate. Catcher Dee O’Malley didn’t appear to initially see the ball and McCarthy ran in to grab it. But the ball had loads of backspin and spun right out of her mitt in fair territory before rolling almost to the backstop. Lyndsey Shaw then ripped a two-RBI double to left-center.
Petillo allowed a one-out single to Madigan in the seventh but closed the door on a grounder and pop-up.
“This is by far the most special team I’ve ever been around — male/female, sport-regardless,” said Woolgar, who became head coach after Pearl River’s first game. “This team never wanted the season to end. This is a special group and I wish they could have found a way to make one more play.”
Notes: This was the 30th anniversary of the state softball championships. … Games were held at an impressive complex, Moreau Recreation Park, just outside South Glens Falls. Four softball fields are a 10-second walk from one another and other parts of the complex include baseball fields, a football field and more. Workers did a fantastic job getting the softball fields in great shape after heavy rains Friday. … Sayville, which finished second in the state last year in Class A and won the championship the year before, is losing only four players to graduation. Included are Bricker, Simpson and two non-starters from Saturday’s game, Mia Palmeri and Sara Schick. Pearl River is taking a much bigger hit with Erin Woods, McCarthy, Alicandri, O’Malley, Caroline Kardashian and Alexa Murphy departing. Only Murphy did not start Saturday for the Pirates. … McCarthy got off to a rough start with Jess Griffin singling and Olivia Kaczmarek drawing a walk to open the game before, one out later, Bricker drove them in. But after that, the senior settled down. … McGarvey had a nice, running catch in left in the top of the third on a ball hit by Kaczmarek. Woods got to third in the bottom of that inning with a two-out hit to left, a steal (above) and a wild pitch. McCarthy walked but the freshman Turillo, who had been huge for Pearl River in the post-season, lined to second. … McCarthy worked out of trouble in the fifth after Griffin led off with a single to left and went to second when the ball eluded McGarvey. After a pop out and a liner back to the mound, McCarthy pitched around Bricker before getting Simpson on a comebacker. … Pearl River’s fifth inning might had the potential for being bigger. McGarvey led off with a bunt single. But she was subsequently called out for interference when she collided with the second baseman Katie Wallace when Madigan grounded toward second. After Alicandri reached on a bunt, Pearl River had some fun on the base paths with Alicandri straying well off first to draw a pickoff attempt. A couple of throws later and Alicandri was standing on second and Madigan on third as Sayville botched the rundown. McCarthy then followed with her double. Turilli’s subsequent drive almost made it to the leftfield fence. … Pearl River was guilty of failing to deliver clutch hits — McCarthy’s not withstanding — but so was Sayville. In the top of the sixth, Wallace’s long, one-out drive to right-center fell between Madigan in center and Julie Marsico in right. Alicandri couldn’t come up with the throw to second. An out and a walk later, though, McCarthy got Griffin to ground to Alicandri, who flipped to Colleen McCoy at third for the force. … McGarvey looked like she had reached on a bunt to open Pearl River’s seventh inning, beating catcher Kaczmarek’s throw. Kaczmarek appeared to have picked up the ball while it was on the foul line, meaning it was a fair ball, but the home plate umpire ruled it had been in foul territory. McGarvey then put down another bunt and Kaczmarek nailed her at first. The play loomed large when Madigan followed with a hit to right that likely would have advanced McGarvey to third with no outs. Instead, it was one out and one on and Petillo then got the final two outs. But of the bunt call, Woolgar said, “The umpire called it foul, so it was foul.” … Woolgar thought Simpson did a good job changing locations. But he faulted his team for failing to wait on her pitches. “That’s been an issue all year. We were out in front,” he said. … Woolgar described Turilli’s fifth-inning drive as being “crushed.” … Of McCarthy’s error, he said, “It was just one of those things. It had crazy backspin and was placed perfectly. It’s something that 99 times out of 100 is not an issue.” … Alicandri, who was pulled up to varsity midway through the 2010 season when she was in eighth grade, got to experience a state championship that year. Going out in the semis as a senior wasn’t the ending she wanted but she praised her team, saying players had stuck together through many things, including the early-season coaching change when second-year coach Carissa Gaylardo, who led the Pirates to a 16-4-1 record last year, resigned. Alicandri, who will attend the University of Delaware and may play club ball there, said of her team, “We didn’t give up. This season was really special.” … While starting the season as assistant coach, Woolgar recalled telling the kids during tryouts that they had 65 days and, thus, 65 chances to “improve, get better and make adjustments.” “We made it to day 96. We were guaranteed 65 and made it a full month more. I wish it could have lasted three more hours but I have no regrets. We played a full month more than most teams in New York State. I am extremely proud,” he said. “It’s sounds cliché but I wouldn’t trade this team for anything in the world. “