Sayville, NY – The old saying in softball is that timely hitting and big defense wins ballgames. Monday morning on the varsity field at Sayville High School that saying rang true once again.
Leading off the inning in the bottom of the sixth, Sayville (4-0) junior Jackie Christensen delivered a game-tying homerun to right field, then later in the inning Emily Selitti doubled to the left side that brought in the go-ahead run. In the ensuing half inning, third baseman Kira Karl made three incredible defensive plays to give the Golden Flashes a 3-2 win over Rocky Point in Suffolk League VI.
“Coach told us to move back in the box, so we knew if it was going to be inside or outside earlier,” Christensen said. “So when I did that, it was much easier to see the pitch and hit it as hard as I could.”
Christensen’s first varsity homerun broke through the masterful pitching of Annie Kennedy who prior to the game-tying homerun had only allowed one run on three hits. Kennedy seemed to settle herself by striking out the next batter Merissa Selts, but after a walk to Kathleen Maehr, Nicole Petillo lined out to first, Cindy Griffin reached first on an error that advanced the go-ahead run to third. So two-outs, runners on first and third, in a tie ballgame, up came Emily Selitti who rocketed a ball to the left side to put her team up 3-2 on the RBI double.
However, Rocky Point (2-3) would not go down without a fight.
Maehr found herself in a jam when she walked leadoff hitter Lauren Molloy and gave up a single to Amy Rausch (2-for-4, HR) to move Molloy to third.
Now was the time for Kira Karl to start flashing the leather at third.
With the tying run on third, Jess Marks hit a high chopper to third, Karl ran at Molloy who sprinted for home, the senior tossed over to catcher Olivia Kaczamarek who tagged Molloy for the first out. Rausch made her way over to third on the play.
Next batter was Kennedy. The sophomore ripped a pitch to the hole between third and short, but Karl showed off her range by snagging the ball, turning on a dime, and unleashed a strike to Kaczamarek just before Rausch could get her foot in. Two outs.
“I was just thinking keep it infield, don’t let it go through the hole,” said Karl. “I just turned around, saw out of the corner of my eye that she was going, and I just gunned it home. I knew I had her.”
With two potential game-tying runs erased at the plate by Karl, now it was a matter of getting the third and final out. Next to bat was sophomore Alexa Mastando, and just like the last two batters, Maehr induced a groundball to Karl. Karl collected the ball and hurled it over to first baseman Kristen Bricker for the final out of the game.
“I just stay relaxed, and with that type of situation, you should never get anxious or nervous,” said Karl. “It makes me feel great, this team is just doing great this year and I have a lot of confidence in them.”
Follow Bill on Twitter @MSGVBillMueller | Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org