The defending Class B finalist Lady Panthers lost a tough 3-1 game at home to Harrison April 5 despite All-State pitcher Jessica Calvini’s 16 strikeouts.
Alijah Webb had two hits and two ribbies for the visitors, including the go-ahead single off Calvini’s hand that drove in Jenna Webb in the top of the ninth.
The play, and the loss, might never have happened if a bang-bang play at the plate in the seventh had gone the other way. With the score tied 1-1, Marissa Bella spanked a two-strike pitch to left to open the frame. All-Everything Calvini then powered a huge double to the centerfield fence, and Bella was waved around third. Unfortunately for the Panthers, the relay from short to home was right on the money, and Rye Neck never threatened again.
Harrison scored its only run in regulation when 3B Nickole Morgan scooped up a slow roller in the opening inning with runners on second and third. She wound up eating the ball as a Husky crossed the plate.
The home side matched that tally with one of their own when, after a couple of walks, senior Nicole Maggio stroked a sharp single to center and the catcher dropped the throw.
While both pitchers were firmly in command, Calvini was so dominating that no opposing batter could get around enough on her to pull even a foul ball until the fifth inning. That’s when Morgan took a grounder and easily threw out the runner.
In the bottom of the ninth, two disputed plays went Harrison’s way. A throw by their shortstop on a hard-hit grounder appeared to have pulled the Huskies’ first baseman off the bag, but the ump called it out right away. Then Bella was either hit on the wrist before the ball bounced off her bat, or it hit the bat first and the player second — which is the way the umps called it after a long conference. Had either decision turned out differently, Calvini would have come up as the tying run. Instead she flied to center to end the contest, with the sun long gone.
Head coach Joan Spedafino looked on the bright side. “It’s a tough loss, but we came back well, and that’s all I can ask. We’ve got another shot at them Friday.”
The Panthers take on the Huskies again at Harrison April 8. They host Yonkers at home the following morning at 11.