By Rob Potter
LIBERTY May 21, 2004 The visiting John S. Burke Catholic School Lady Eagles prevailed in Tuesdays low-scoring Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV game versus the Liberty Lady Indians.
Burke (16-7, 8-1 OCIAA) scored twice in the top of the third inning and added another run in the fifth to post a 3-1 victory.
After two scoreless innings, the Lady Eagles put together a two-out rally in the third. Amy Holmes led off the frame by drawing a walk from Liberty pitcher Alyssa Thalmann. Holmes moved to second base on a passed ball and advanced to third on a fly ball to the outfield. Once on third, Holmes scored the first run of the contest on a wild pitch.
Meaghan Galvin, who was batting as Holmes scored, then hit a bloop single into shallow left field to keep the Lady Eagles inning going. As teammate Chelsea Gallagher was in the batters box, Galvin stole second base. Gallagher then hit a ground ball to second base but an errant throw to first allowed her to safely reach base. Galvin, who started running toward third base as soon as Gallaghers bat touched the ball since there were already two outs in the inning, kept going. She rounded third and slid into home plate, eluding the tag of Lady Indian catcher Kelly Lorino.
Burke took a 3-0 lead in the fifth. Galvin led off the frame by smacking a single to left field. After Galvin stole second base, Gallagher walked to put two runners on base with no outs. Michele Bianchetti ripped a single to left field, which brought Galvin around to score.
The Lady Eagles could have scored a few more runs in the inning, but Thalmann and the fielders behind her prevented that from happening.
With Gallagher on third base and Bianchetti on second, Erica Arborn patiently drew a walk from Thalmann to load the bases.
But Thalmann struck out the next two batters. Then she got Holmes to ground out to second base for the third out of the inning and keep the Lady Indians deficit at just three runs.
Liberty (4-13, 2-6 OCIAA) attempted to rally in the bottom of the sixth.
Brittany Strysko and Thalmann began the inning with back-to-back singles. The third batter of the frame, Saritza Vazquez, then hit a ground ball to shortstop. Galvin fielded the ball and quickly threw it to second baseman Molly Plain to force Thalmann out at second base. While Burke recorded the out, Strysko crossed home plate for the Lady Indians first run of the contest.
But that was as close as Liberty would get. The next batter, Keely Hamlin hit a fly ball to center field that Lady Eagle Diana Polli caught as the ball was about three feet from the grass. Polli then fired the ball to first baseman Jaimie McFarlin to double up Vazquez, who had ran toward second base as Hamlins bat connected with the softball.
In the bottom of the seventh, Bianchetti set down the Lady Indians in order.
Strysko was 3-for-3 for the Lady Indians. Galvin was 2-for-4 and scored twice for the Lady Eagles.
Their pitcher [Thalmann] threw a terrific game, Burke Coach Steve Douthit said. She threw our hitters off their timing. We were very fortunate to win it 3 to 1.
Douthit also credited his team for its performance, especially Bianchetti. The sophomore hurler allowed only five hits in the game.
The fact that Michele gave up only one run is nothing unusual, he said. She is one of the best pitchers in the league.
Liberty Coach John Wilhelm praised Thalmann for pitching a good game.
He especially noted Thalmanns performance in the fifth inning.
That was the key, Wilhelm said of the frame where Thalmann allowed one run but did not surrender any more even though the Lady Eagles had the bases loaded with no outs. She kept us in the game. They could have blown the game wide open right there.
The contest was the final one this season for the Lady Indians.
We have a pretty young team, Wilhelm said. We lost quite a few players from last year, so this was a totally different team. At the beginning of the year, we wanted to see improvement during the season and we have seen a lot of improvement over the season. We lost a few close games recently, but even though we lost the games, the girls played really well.
Note: In a brief ceremony after the third inning, Liberty Central School Athletic Director Tim Bult, Coach John Wilhelm and Assistant Coach Tom Totten honored Libertys three seniors Lisa DeStefano, Kelly Lorino and Alyssa Thalmann and their parents.
Bult noted that the Lady Indians faced several high points and low points this season.
But through it all, you stuck together and played like champions, he said.
I want to thank these seniors for all of their hard work and dedication to the program over the years, Wilhelm said. I wish them the best of luck in the future.