April 21, 2010
By Rich Barton
NJS.com Staff Writer
Cuccinelli had big hits in the fourth and sixth for St.
Mary, which came back to post a 7-6 win over Wood-Ridge
on Tuesday and grab first place in the BCSL-National.
– After a home loss to Wood-Ridge last year cost it the
BCSL-National Division championship, the St. Mary (Rutherford)
softball team was hoping for a measure of revenge on Tuesday,
but the Gaels looked like they were headed for another disappointment
down three runs heading into the bottom half of the seventh.
the ups and downs that most teams experience over the course of
a whole season, the Gaels packed into a few innings with a shocking
ending to a wild game.
McCann’s one-out single cut the lead to a run in the bottom
of the seventh and the throw back into the infield sailed into
the Wood-Ridge dugout, allowing two more runs to come home. That
was the final play of the game as St. Mary survived a ton of errors
to grab sole possession of first place in the BCSL-National Division
with a wild 7-6 victory at Memorial Field in Rutherford.
thankful that we kept playing hard and found a way to pull out
a win,” said St. Mary’s head coach Maria Fagan. “Not
the prettiest game to win and we’ll take it against a well-coached
team like Wood-Ridge. A win is a win. Our errors are hurting us
and they almost cost us today. We had to dig deep and we got some
timely hits in the seventh inning.”
Trotter scoring the run that gave Wood-Ridge a 4-3 lead in
the top of the seventh inning.
jumped in front by scoring in each of the first three innings.
Ashley Lombardi drove in Dana Raleigh with a single in the second
inning for a two-run lead. In the third, Hailey Barteck singled
and came all the way around to score on a three-base error to
pad the Blue Devils’ lead to 3-0.
starter Alyssa McKhann was on cruise control until the fourth
inning when Amy Cuccinelli slapped a two-out, seeing-eye single
up the middle to plate Vanessa Romero for the Gaels’ first
Blue Devils were still ahead until Cuccinelli and a bad hop changed
the complexion of the game. With two outs in the bottom of the
sixth, Cuccinelli knocked in Romero with a single. But the ball
skipped past the outfield defense with Cuccinelli coming all the
way around to knot the score at 3.
needed a lift and Amy, being a leader, picked us up,” added
Fagan. “The intensity we showed in the last few innings
we should have had the whole game. If Amy doesn’t get those
hits in the (fourth and sixth innings) I’m not sure we would
have come back.”
Maffei was right in the middle of St. Mary's seventh inning
responded with a two-out rally of its own in the top of the seventh.
With Johnna Trotter, who doubled to lead off the inning, on second
base, Nicole Fleck poked a single to left and there was a play
at the plate. The throw was right on line, but a hard slide by
Trotter knocked the ball loose and she scored to put the Blue
Devils back on top, 4-3. Senior Danielle Natoli followed with
a two-run bomb to right-center to make it 6-3 going into the Gaels’
were definitely nervous that we let an opportunity slip away,
but we still had one last chance to make up for it,” said
St. Mary’s Megan McCann.
furious comeback started with a pinch-hit double from Megan Macaluso
to lead off the inning. Megan Maffei then struck out swinging
on a ball in the dirt and took off for first. As she ran up the
first-base line, Macaluso broke for third base to cause a moment
of hesitation that was just enough to allow both runners to reach
base safely. Luana Natalicio then followed with an RBI single
to cut the lead to 6-4 and Romero looped a single to right to
lead the bases for McCann.
Fleck had an RBI in Wood-Ridge's three-run seventh inning.
drilled a 2-1 pitch to left field to knock in Maffei to trim the
lead to 6-5. Natalicio took a turn around third base and Romero
around second before Natalicio went back towards the bag. The
throw from left field sailed off the top of the fence and into
dead ball territory, which allowed both Natalicio and Romero to
come home as the tying and game-winning runs.
knew it was now or never and I had to knock in some runs,”
added McCann. “I didn’t have good at-bats in my first
few times up and I wanted to make up for it. I got a good pitch
to hit and just tried to drive it.”
led the way offensively going 3-for-4 with three runs scored for
St. Mary’s (5-4). Cuccinelli went 2-for-3 with two RBIs
and a run scored. Natalicio two hits and an RBI and Lauren Hozak
picked up the win in the circle.
Barteck, and Raleigh each had two hits for Wood-Ridge (4-7). The
stunning loss knocked from contention for the Bergen County Tournament.
For St. Mary’s, its hopes of receiving a county tournament
bid are bolstered by the win. They also moved a game ahead of
Wood-Ridge and Secaucus into sole possession of first place in
the BCSL-National Division.
had to pick up our intensity level and pull through for a win,”
said Natalicio. “We made a lot of errors, but we had to
put it behind us and keep playing hard. It’s nice to be
in first place in the league. This is a great win, but we’ll
take in stride. We still have a long way to go and we’ll
take something from this game and try to improve for our next
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