By Rob Potter
LIVINGSTON MANOR For the first six innings of Tuesday afternoon’s non-league softball game, the visiting Cornwall Lady Dragons and Livingston Manor Lady Wildcats were unable to score any runs due to the excellent pitching and defense of both teams.
That changed in the seventh inning, however.
In the top of the seventh, Cornwall’s Megan Staudle hit a one-out double to left field. Staudle then advanced to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Alyssa DiMaio. After Alyssa Bua walked, courtesy runner Kim Terrizzi took Bua’s spot at first base.
Terrizzi then ran to second base on defensive indifference to give the Lady Dragons two runners who could potentially score on a hit by Brittany Malloy, who was at the plate.
But Staudle stole home to give Cornwall a 1-0 lead.
Manor pitcher Marissa Diescher then struck out Malloy to end the inning.
The Lady Wildcats didn’t waste any time in rallying for a 2-1 win in the bottom of the seventh. Senior second baseman Christine Babich led off the inning by blasting a solo home run over the left field fence to tie the game at 1-1.
After Babich was congratulated by all of her teammates at home plate, Diescher walked and Victoria Taggart followed with a single to center field. Samantha Scott was then hit by a pitch, which loaded the bases for the Lady Wildcats.
Bua, the Lady Dragons’ sophomore pitcher, got the next two Manor batters out with a strikeout and a pop fly to third baseman DiMaio, respectively.
The next batter, Victoria Davis, singled to right field, which allowed Diescher to score the game-winning run.
Both teams entered the game ranked in the top 10 in their respective classes in the New York State Sportswriters Association Poll that was released this past Sunday, May 22. Cornwall was No. 9 among Class A teams, while Manor was ranked No. 1 among Class D teams.
Diescher allowed only two hits and had 12 strikeouts. Bua gave up four hits and recorded seven strikeouts.
“They’re a very good team and they are well-coached,” Cornwall Coach Doug DeMartine said. “We didn’t hit the ball today.”
DeMartine noted that he wanted the Lady Dragons to play against Manor near the end of the season to help them prepare for next week’s Section IX Softball Tournament.
“This will help us in the long run,” DeMartine said. “We wanted to play a good team and face a good pitcher and she [Diescher] is the best.”
DeMartine also praised Bua for pitching an outstanding game for the Lady Dragons.
Manor Co-Coach Kevin Clifford noted that playing against Cornwall will help the Lady Wildcats as they seek to defend their Section IX Class D title and New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D championship.
Defeating Cornwall, which entered Tuesday’s game with a 15-0 record this season, was a good confidence builder for the Lady Wildcats.
“It feels good to win this game,” Clifford said. “That was Christine Babich’s first career home run and it was a very good time for it.
“We have five different players in our lineup who have hit home runs before,” Clifford added. “And Victoria Davis came up big for us with a two-out single to win the game.”
With the victory, Manor, which has already clinched the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division VI title, finished the regular season with a 15-1 record.