On Friday May 5, Mahopac headed south to Rye, and Ava Lichtenberger and Erin Ball treated both fan bases to an exciting pitcher’s duel. At least they did for five innings. Then the bats took over, and a thrilling back and forth went in search of a hero. Both sides had an ample supply. But someone had to sound the trumpet, and the other side would have to succumb to the violins.
With the bases loaded and one out, Lichtenberger got the ground ball she needed in the bottom of the seventh, and with the infield in, Emma Behun picked it cleanly. Unfortunately, Ava Rollano was too fast to the plate, and the late throw sent Mahopac home with a crushing 4-3 loss.
Nonetheless, Ball put up the first zero, and her offense immediately had their starter’s back. Penelope Gilmore drew a one out walk, and after Dylan Deertz went down on strikes, Ashley Kessner hit a double in the gap for a 1-0 lead.
A grounder to short closed the inning, and Lichtenberger settled into the second by retiring the side in order. Ball would match the donut in the top of third, and Lichtenberger was on pace to continue the string in the bottom..
She got a strikeout and a fly out, but an error at third kept the inning alive for Deertz. So the third baseman stepped in and also smoked a double for a 2-0 lead.
No answer in the top of the fourth for Mahopac, Lichtenberger was tested in the bottom. After getting the first out on a hot shot to first by Kessner, the starter ended up in a jam. A Tessa Labovitz single to right was followed by a sacrifice bunt attempt by Erin Ball. Caitlyn Wolf fielded the ball, but the throw was off line and everyone was safe.
So Lichtenberger got down to business. She struck out Rollano and put her off hour skills to work on Ava Cross. The first baseman hit a hard one back at the box, and the pitcher fielded the ball like the shortstop she is on her travel team.
The side retired, Ball returned the favor in order in the top of the fifth, and a little breathing room loomed in the bottom. Gilmore sliced a two out double to right, but Bella Genovese bailed Lichtenberger out. The right fielder made the long throw to Camdyn Wilson at short, and Gilmore was tagged out in the run down.
A bad omen for Rye was compounded when Behun’s bloop to left landed on the foul line. Sam Pellegri then got a grounder through the infield, and Wilson’s ground out to third sent Behun home with the first run.
Now 2-1, the pitcher put another one of her tools on display. She stroked a double and in came Pellegri to tie the score. Not done yet, a wild pitch moved Lichtenberger to third, and Gianna LaFaro grabbed the lead for Mahopac with a sacrifice fly.
Dialup in with a seventh inning lead, Lichtenberger went three up, three down, and the offense was primed to put to their pitcher in good hands with some insurance runs. After Bella Genovese walked and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Emily Biagini, Behun launched an opposite field projectile to right.
Bad news, Rollano got a good jump. She ran back and toward the line and made a lunging catch. Anticipating an extra base hit, Genovese was caught off second, and Rye had the inning ending double play.
The ominous signage now flipped, Rye piled on in the seventh. Ball launched one to deep left center, and while Ally Wanner had the ball tracked, she wasn’t able to put on the squeeze on the ball.
The tying run landing third, the Garnets played small ball. Rollano’’s bunt scored the run on the throw home, Cross walked and Zoe Lien beat out her bunt.
The bases loaded with no one out, Lichtenberger needed a strike out and she got it. The same goes for Gilmore’s ground ball, but good pitching and defense wasn’t enough to save the day.
Rye Action Shots for Purchase : https://richmonetti.smugmug.com/RyeSBvMahopac/