Ups and downs are part of high school softball. They can swing from game to game, inning to inning and even pitch to pitch.
Suffolk County League V rivals Miller Place and Shoreham-Wading River both had more than their share of ups and downs Monday. When their three-hour game finally ended in the ninth inning, SWR was up and visiting Miller Place was down.
Lindsay Marie Cahill’s first career walk-off hit brought things to an end, securing for SWR a drama-filled 12-11 triumph in its first game of the second half of the league season, played in intermittent light rain.
It was a wild and crazy ride.
“Honestly, crazy is the word,” said shortstop Katlynn McGivney, who scored the winning run. “I mean, mud on the field in the first inning. We had the rain on and off. It’s hot, it’s cold. Controversial calls. Runs scored on both sides. Crazy would be the word.”
SWR (3-6, 3-6) had fallen behind, 7-0, before making 14 plate appearances and scoring eight runs in the third inning. The Wildcats went on to take a four-run lead into the sixth before Miller Place (6-3, 6-3) tied things at 11-11 with a four-run seventh.
In the bottom of the ninth, SWR sent only two batters to the plate. That’s all the Wildcats needed. McGivney slapped a first-pitch single to leftfield before stealing her second base of the game. That set the table for Cahill, a freshman in her second varsity season who batted second in the order.
“I at least had to make contact with the ball, regardless of what I did,” Cahill said. “Katlynn’s fast enough that she can fly all over the field if she really needed to. So, I was just thinking, ‘Put it in play.’ ”
Cahill drilled the ball back through the middle, and McGivney was off to the races. McGivney said she didn’t know if she could score on the play until she saw coach Bill King waving her home. “As soon as I saw the arrow, then I was like, ‘Alright, I’m going home,’ ” she said.
Cahill went 4-for-5 with three RBIs.
“Lindsay is turning into a better and better hitter every single game, and we’re just excited to have her with us, and we’re excited that she’s only a ninth-grader and she’s blossoming every day,” said SWR assistant coach Tom Veryzer.
The Wildcats, who dropped a 4-1 loss to Miller Place in their season opener, were probably not feeling so great when they fell behind, 7-0, by the third. Ann Marie McNulty (3-for-4), who drove in three runs from two doubles, brought in two runs from a ground-rule double in the second. RBI singles tagged by Maddie Power (4-for-4, three RBIs, walk) and Maddie Danin — part of a three-run third — made it 7-0.
“Our players are never going to give up,” Veryzer said. “I think that’s just the bottom line. It was early enough in the game where we had time to recover.”
SWR turned in a monster bottom of the third that saw five hits and six walks (three with the bases loaded). Lauren Halloran brought a run in on a hit off a shallow popup, but the big knock of the inning was a two-run single Cahill slugged to knot the score at 7-7. McGivney scored on a passed ball to make it 8-7.
“Our adrenaline was through the roof eventually, and we just kept adding more and more,” said Cahill.
That lead was extended to 11-7 in the fifth with a two-out rally in which McGivney scored on a wild pitch and Kelsey Hughes stroked a single for two of her three RBIs.
“I haven’t seen the offense step up like that all season, really,” McGivney said. “We started putting the bat on the ball and things happened.”
Then things started happening for Miller Place. The Panthers drew even with a four-run burst in the seventh. Power grounded a single through the middle that was good for two runs, McNulty clocked an RBI double and Carissa Militano (3-for-5) drew a bases-loaded walk. All of that came with no outs. But a well-executed, unassisted double play by third baseman Joy Papagianopoulos, who snatched a line drive and then touched the bag to catch a runner off it, helped avert further damage.
SWR’s second baseman, Halloran, turned in some nice glovework herself, leaping to snag a screaming liner hit by Emma Acevedo (three RBIs) in the eighth.
SWR had suffered one-run losses in its previous two games: 7-6 to Elwood/John Glenn and 2-1 to Mount Sinai. The Wildcats hope this game could be the turnaround they were looking for.
The thrill of victory was sticking with Cahill.
“I was really nervous and I was shaking from the time that we started extra innings until we finished the game,” she said. “I’m still shaking now.”
Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River shortstop Katlynn McGivney tries to throw out a Miller Place runner at third base after stretching to catch a line drive hit by Carissa Militano in the second inning. (Credit: Bob Liepa)