Ridgefield Park works extras to beat Wallington

Tiffany Vasquez provided an insurance run in the top of the 10th inning for Ridgefield Park, which came from three runs down to beat Wallington, 8-6, in 10 innings.

WALLINGTON – With the way the season has gone thus far it would be easy for the Ridgefield Park players to hang their heads after falling behind early against a solid opponent. That could have been the case when Wallington grabbed a three-run lead but the Lady Scarlets finally drew a line in the sand. They clawed their way back to force extra innings and it went all the way until the tenth inning where things always get a little more interesting.

With a runner placed on second base to start the inning, one run is generally not enough. Getting insurance runs is of the utmost importance and Ridgefield Park senior Tiffany Vasquez was well aware of it.

After the Scarlets took the lead, Vasquez looped a double down the right-field line to provide the necessary insurance run with pitcher Lexi Losino locking it down from there with Ridgefield Park won 8-6 in 10 innings to snap Wallington’s four-game win streak at Dul Field in Wallington.

“I think we hit pretty well throughout the lineup, Lexi did a good job throwing strikes, we made the plays behind her,” Ridgefield Park head coach Mook Iannacone. “We played with confidence today and we were more aggressive both at the plate and on the bases. This is the type of play I’ve been looking for all season and I’m glad we got it today.”

With the score tied at one in the bottom half of the second inning, Wallington took advantage of a pair of Scarlet miscues. The Panthers only got one hit in the inning but it was a big one from the No. 9 batter. Madison Kruk lined a single to score two runs with another run coming home on an error to put Wallington in front, 4-1.

Anelise Worrell-O'Keefe had three hits, scored twice and stole two bases for Wallington.

It looked like the game might get away from the Scarlets. Instead, they bounced right back to score two runs in the top of the third. Losino helped her own cause by poking a two-out, two-strike single to bring home Gabby Cortes and Angelina Pulido and cut the lead to 4-3.

“It’s about one play and one at-bat at a time,” said Cortes. “It was all about pumping each other up and staying positive.”

Wallington (who has just one senior starter) kept the pressure on but Losino remained under control in the circle and got plenty of help from the defense behind her. Two of the game’s biggest defense plays came from centerfielder Crystal Mudry. With a runner on second and nobody out, Mudry made a catch in deep center. On the tag up, the Scarlets appealed and the runner was called out for the double play. Then in the fifth, Mudry made a leaping catch to save a run and third baseman Ashley Gaetani made a nice play to end the threat.

After tying the game in the fourth inning, the Scarlets took the lead in the sixth. Amber Wilson led off with a single and pinch-runner Anessa Mayorga stole second before coming home around to score on a single by Pulido. The Panthers answered right back in the bottom half of the frame to tie the game, 5-5, on Hailey Backo’s RBI single.

Wallington had a chance to win it in the bottom half of the eighth and came about three feet from doing so. With the bases loaded and two outs, Nicole Gruenewald crushed a pitch. However, it went to the deepest part of the park with Mudry making the catch directly in front of the fence in dead center to send the game to extra innings. Wallington threatened again in the ninth with consecutive singles. The second single could have easily skipped down the left-field line allowing the winning run to score but Pulido made a nice play to cut the ball off and get it back in quickly. Losino got the key outs when she needed them, inducing a pop-up to end the inning.

Tiffany Vasquez provided an insurance run Lexi Losino helped her own cause with three RBIs and picked up the win for Ridgefield Park, which improved to 3-6 on the season.

Ridgefield Park caught an early break as an error off the bat of Losino in the top of the tenth inning allowed Mudry to score. After Losino stole second base, Vasquez went with an outside fastball off of Wallington right-hander Alexandra Holt and dropped it just inside the foul line in right-field, allowing Losino to score. Wilson then drove home Vasquez with an RBI single to make it 8-5.

“I waited for the ball to get to me and went with the pitch instead of jumping out at it,” said Vasquez. “We already had the lead and I just had to get a hit to bring that run home.”

Wallington brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the tenth but Losino induced a ground ball to short with Cortes firing over to first for the final out.

Losino helped her own cause with three RBIs and picked up the win for Ridgefield Park (3-6).

Freshman Anelise Worrell-O’Keefe had a good day at the plate going 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two stolen bases for Wallington (5-4).

Now that the Scarlets have shown they can grind out close games they hope this is just the beginning of better days to come.

“We feel like we’re capable of so much more than we’ve shown so far this season,” said Losino. “Today we finally tapped into that potential. This win gives us a boost. Now it’s a just a matter of getting better from here and trying to see how far up we can go.”