The Blue Waves lost a heartbreaker in extra innings yesterday in the out-bracket game against Half Hollow Hills West, 6-5 in extra innings.
No. 18 Riverhead (11-10) fell behind early to No. 15 Hills West, and was trailing 4-3 going into the last inning. But the Waves tied it up at 4 in the 7th, pushing the game into extra innings. They took a 5-4 lead in the top of the 8th and came within one out of victory. But the Colts, with two outs and nobody on, hit back-to-back singles and a two-run double to claim a 6-5 win.
Down by one in the top of the 7th, the Waves had the bottom of the lineup coming up. Ally O’Kula reached base. With Katie McKillop out because of her brother’s graduation, Ashley Colombus slipped into the lineup but actually had to leave the game as well because of an injury.
“I had a feeling to get our 8th graders in the game,” Coach Jeff Doroski said. “A lot of people would call me crazy. It’s the last chance to score and you’re going to rely on underclassman?”
Emily Bazarewski went up to the plate for her first career at-bat after O’Kula, who is a freshman herself, advanced to second. Bazarewski put a perfect bunt down to bring O’Kula to third. Then Alexis Polak, another freshman, came up with a chance to tie the game and she did just that, rifling a single through the infield.
Guess the future is bright for Riverhead softball, right?
“Looks like it,” Doroski said.
The game went into extra innings — but not without controversy.
In the bottom of the seventh a ball was ripped out to centerfield and Maria Dillingham chased after it all the way to the fence and tumbled over for the second consecutive game. The ball bounced inside the fence and hopped over but the base umpire called a home run for the game winner.
“So I’m on the field arguing with the home plate umpire like there’s no way that didn’t bounce before going over,” Doroski said.
The two umpires talked and decided it would be a ground-rule double and Riverhead escaped the jam.
In an 11-pitch at-bat, senior Dani Napoli singled through the middle, then stole second, advanced to third on a bunt and scored to take the lead 5-4 going into the bottom of the 8th.
Down to their last out with the bases empty, the Colts fought back, reaching on back-to-back singles and scoring on a fly ball that drifted over the head of the outfielder, falling in for a two-run double.
Just like that, the season was over.
Napoli called it “a roller coaster of emotions” as her senior season came to an end. “We were losing, then tied them, then the homer that would’ve ended the game but didn’t,” Napoli said. “I was literally in shock especially because for me a loss would make it my last high school game ever.”
“That was a true playoff game,” Doroski said. “I’m proud of the way the kids played.”