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John Jay gets First Win with Comeback Victory over Fox Lane

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By Rich MonettiPublished about a month ago Updated 28 days ago 3 min read
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On Wednesday March 27, the Wolves fell behind 3-0 to visiting Fox Lane in the first inning. Nonetheless, starter Julia Neumann kept the score contained and preserved the chance for a comeback win. A 4-3 seventh inning lead for Jay coming around, Skye Volpicella couldn’t put the squeeze on Gaby Naar’s long fly ball to lead off the inning. So reliever Maria DeGataeno simply stuck to the program. “It’s just, next play, forget about it,” said the freshman, and the relief pitcher did exactly that.

Three straight strikeouts in the heart of the order, Coach Steve DelMoro already knew what he had in the rookie. “Nothing is too big for her,” he assured.

After opening the season with a 10-6 loss to Clarkstown North, the Wolves were probably hoping to issue a donut in the first. But Sofia Rodriguez walked, Jojo Kerwar singled and Naar lashed a double for a 2-0 lead.

A passed ball and error by Laney Daly translating to run three, Neumann and her team weren’t knocked off their game. “You got to lock in and keep coming,” said the senior. “So after the first inning, we definitely did that.”

All three balls put in play would have to do for the bottom of the first, but Neumann left no doubt in the top of the second. Aside from Rodriguez reaching on an error, the starter retired the side on three ground balls.

In the bottom, Charlotte Bender showed the first sign of offensive life. A line drive screaming down first, John Jay could only whimper when Grace Cleveland snuffed out the yellow flash.

A walk for Neumann wasn’t enough, and Fox Lane sat down to threaten again in the third. A one out Cleveland single was followed by a Vicky Bodine walk, and after Bella Barry reeled in a line drive to center, Tara McNamee received a free pass.

The bases loaded, Neumann down shifted and put aside the traffic jam. She fired, and Barry tracked another line drive to retire the side.

Up for another try, the Wolves made a little more noise in the bottom of third. Natalie Sacco worked a walk, Daly sacrificed her over, and Barry’s groundout put the runner on third. But Carys Cooper’s hard grounder to short ended the inning.

No problem, Neumann remained on lockdown in the fourth, and in the bottom, the Wolves continued to send a message. Bender singled, Neumann reached on an error with one out, and Emma Klares moved the runners over with a groundout to second.

Not enough, Sacco went down swinging, so DeGataeno entered and repaid the favor in triplicate. Four batters, the righty struck out three, and the offense took the cue by loading the bases with no one out in the bottom.

Daly walked, Barry reached on an error, and Evie Santos seemed to want no part of Riley Foote. The walked issued, John Jay got on the board on a wild pitch to Cooper.

A 3-1 game, the tying run was on second, so the catcher stayed in her lane. “I just wanted to put the bat on the ball, make solid contact and try not to do too much,” said the freshman.

In turn, Cooper put the words into practice. Her ground ball to second was not handled, and the game was tied.

But catchers not always being fleet of foot doesn’t keep her put. “I do steal bases,” Cooper assured.

Of course, the backstop uses inside knowledge to spot areas she can exploit her counterpart. “It helps when you know what they tend to do,” said Cooper, and seeing opportunity, the Wolf ended up on third with an errant throw.

The rest was easy. A wild pitch and Cooper was in for what proved to be the winning run.

Six outs to go, Fox Lane got the lead off runner on in the sixth too. Just a blip, DeGataeno notched two infield pop outs, and Daly gobbled up Kerwar’s grounder for the third out.

John Jay going easily in the bottom, the battlefield was screaming for a one run victory. Naar not obliging with her blast, Volpicella did get there but could not hold on.

No problem, DeGataeno just seemed more determined and went head on versus the big guns. “They are all really good hitters, but I just gave it my best pitches,” said the closer.

Fox Lane could probably attest, while Neumann just enjoyed the front row seat. “She’s so talented, and we’re lucky to have her,” the starter concluded the day.

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Rich Monetti

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