MONARCHS 2, CLIPPERS 1
It was befitting for an exciting high school softball game that an exciting player should bring about an exciting finish.
Meet Ms. Excitement. Now batting for Bishop McGann-Mercy, Karlin McIntyre.
McIntyre is not only an exciting player, she is also a clutch player. The senior center fielder has a way of making things happen, whether they be a sensational catch in the outfield or coming through in the batter’s box.
It was McIntyre’s hitting ability, with a game on the line, that made the difference on Tuesday. Two errors, sandwiched around a McIntyre double, enabled McGann-Mercy to pull out a thrilling 2-1 triumph over Southold/Greenport.
McIntyre clubbed a double to center field and, on the same play, Michaela Zebrowski, a freshman, scored from first base after an errant throw home for the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning at Stotzky Memorial Park’s Wesley Brown Sr. Memorial Field in Riverhead. Zebrowski had led off by reaching base on a dropped pop fly. Then McIntyre stepped into the batter’s box and put the finishing touches on her 3-for-4 day with her second double of the game. McIntyre had been 0 for 7 in McGann-Mercy’s previous two games.
McIntyre said she thought she might strike out on the pitch she hit because she turned around when someone called her name, and by the time she turned her head back, pitcher Courtney O’Sullivan was already releasing the ball. “But I ended up hitting it,” McIntyre said. “It felt good.”
It was the kind of performance McGann-Mercy coach Jacki Paton had come to expect from McIntyre.
“She’s just a gifted natural athlete who amazes you with the things that she does in game situations,” Paton said. “She’s definitely a game player, and she’ll lay it all out on the line.”
That final play capped a well-played game by both teams. The Clippers and the Monarchs proved to be a good match for each other, with eight hits each. Both pitchers, O’Sullivan and McGann-Mercy’s Anna Crowley, deserved plaudits. Between the two of them, only one walk was issued. O’Sullivan allowed one earned run and had one strikeout in six-plus innings. Crowley did not give up an earned run and struck out four.
It was the sort of game that even the losing team could appreciate.
“It was neck and neck the whole time, so my hat’s off to both teams,” said Lori Marra, whose first win as Southold/Greenport’s coach came Monday with an 18-11 defeat of Port Jefferson. Marra said she told her players after Tuesday’s loss, “Keep your heads up because you have to be proud of the way we just played that game.”
Southold/Greenport assumed a 1-0 lead in the third inning. Wendy Peterson sprayed a leadoff double to right field, moved two bases on a pair of groundouts, and scored on a throwing error.
Three hits in the fifth helped McGann-Mercy (1-2 overall and in Suffolk County League VIII) pull even. Shannon Willmott, McIntyre and Brieanne Bieber all singled (Bieber’s hit coming on a bunt) before a sacrifice fly by Crowley brought in Willmott.
Both teams left runners on scoring position late in the game.
McGann-Mercy mounted a threat in the sixth that started with Jackie Zaweski legging out an infield single. She was standing on third base with one out after a sacrifice bunt by Claire Sullivan and a steal. But O’Sullivan managed to get out of the jam with a strikeout and a groundout.
And then there was another threat, this time by Southold/Greenport (1-3, 1-3) in the seventh. With two outs, Nicole Busso shot a single into center field and stole second base. Alexis Reed then reached base on an infield single and stole second, leaving runners on second and third for Alexandra Small. But Crowley got Small to fly out to the left fielder, Willmott, for the third out.
“That was a tough battle,” Southold/Greenport’s third baseman, Reed, said afterward. “I thought we did really well. It was a tough loss to lose like that, but I think overall we did really well. We’re making strides. We’re hitting better. We’re playing the field better. We can work on a few things, but we’re growing as a team and I think that the girls, as young as they are, are really stepping up to the plate for us seniors, and it’s really heart-warming that they’re doing that.”