If patience is indeed a virtue, then the Wagner softball team heeded that phrase to perfection at the College of Staten Island Saturday.
A walk was as good as a hit as Wagner hitters used their eyes and feet to score six straight runs, all off walks, against Francis Lewis pitcher Priscilla Lallave in the first.
Falcons right-hander Taylor Sarcone used that big lead to hold the Patriots offense to just four hits. Second-seeded Wagner finally broke through the semifinals jinx after years of frustration to reach the PSAL Class A finals with an 11-1 victory in a mercy-rule shortened six innings.
Wagner coach Marco Altieri was on pins and needles even with his senior ace keeping No. 6 Francis Lewis at bay, understandable considering the Falcons were eliminated in the semifinals four out of the last five years.
“We’ve been coming up short, running into really good teams,” Altieri said. “The one thing the girls said is we will do it this year. We all believed in each other and it feels great.”
Wagner (18-2), ranked No. 3 in New York City by MSG Varsity, takes on defending PSAL champions Tottenville at 6 p.m. Wednesday at St. John’s University. Tottenville defeated Wagner twice in the regular season.
Two players attempted to give Altieri a Gatorade bath, but it only reached the back of the 6-foot-5 coach, who guided the squad to its first appearance in the final since 1989.
“I don’t think we have one girl that is such a standout,” Altieri said. “We have a couple of girls who are tough to pitch against. We got some depth. The chemistry is what got us here.”
Wagner had to get past Francis Lewis (16-4) on its road to the championship game. The Patriots beat the Falcons in the quarterfinals a year ago.
Francis Lewis, ranked No. 12 in New York City by MSG Varsity, scored in the first inning when shortstop Samantha Lallave reached on a walk, stole second and came around on a throwing error to make it 1-0.
Wagner responded with one out in the bottom of the first inning. Jennifer Greenberg reached on a double, and Sarcone followed with a single to center field. Priscilla Lallave issued the first of her seven walks to Dayna Williams to load the bases.
Halle Siegel, who had a game-high three hits, grounded out to Priscilla Lallave, who threw to home plate to get the force. The Francis Lewis hurler could have gotten out of the inning with little damage, but the senior struggled with her command and issued a walk to Danielle Drucker to tie the game. That would begin six straight batters that jogged to first for the Falcons to take 6-1 advantage.
“I don’t think anyone on this team tries to crush the ball, we wait for our pitch,” Siegel said. “We just come through and hit the ball.”
A five-run lead was plenty for Sarcone, who couldn’t believe the Falcons were inching closer to sealing their place in the championship against Tottenville.
The dream finally became reality in the bottom of the sixth inning. Third baseman Jamie Lee Sanfilippo drove in Jeri Gennaro with an RBI single to center to end the game at 11-1 and ignite a long-awaited celebration.
“That’s the way I want to go out, it’s great, it’s very emotional for me,” Sarcone said. “This is my first championship [appearance] and I loved all the teams I was on, but I wouldn’t want to be in the championship with any other girls.”