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May 18, 2009 / Sports

Irrera’s mistake, O’Neill’s bat keep Tigers perfect

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Tiffany Irrera’s worst pitch was also her best.

 

Ahead by five runs, the Bishop Kearney windmiller found herself with the bases loaded and two outs with Casey Sclafani, St. Edmund Prep’s cleanup hitter, stepping the plate. Irrera quickly got ahead 0-2 on the junior catcher, who already had two hard hits in the game. Sclafani took a ball and then fouled three pitches off, before going down swinging on what looked like a perfectly called inside pitch.

Except it wasn’t.

“I called a rise ball on that one,” Kearney catcher Kristen O’Neill said. “It actually happened to hit Tiffany’s leg and it basically was an inside changeup. It was one of those lucky things that happened.”

The out was the biggest one recorded by Irrera, thwarting St. Edmund’s best threat to get back into the game.

“It was huge,” she said “She was crushing me today. She can hit anything. It was a mistake. It wasn’t supposed to be there.”

The junior threw a six-hitter, striking out eight, walking just one and getting plenty of help from the Kearney bats for a 7-0 win over St. Edmund in CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens softball at Gil Hodges Little League Sunday morning. The Tigers won the first meeting between the two teams, 4-1, earlier this week. O’Neill’s two-out, two strike single in the fourth opened up the game up for Kearney (11-0).

“She usually comes through in the clutch,” Kearney coach Gina Trani said.

The senior catcher reached out and flicked an Emma Ferrington pitch just over the head of second baseman Bianca Inserillo to five Kearney a 5-0 lead. Irrera later walked with the bases loaded to make it 6-0 after a St. Edmund (8-3) error..

“I knew that was going down,” O’Neill said. “She was going outside, inside and down on me.”

The Tigers, who scored in every inning but the third, made St. Edmund pay for errors. A bobbled ball and bad throw by Inserillo allowed a run to score before Irrera singled to make it 2-0 Kearney in the first. In the second, the Tigers (11-0) plated a run when Sclafani tried to pick off Dana Iannicelli from third, but the ball ended up in the outfield.

“The whole game is not on one batter,” Eagles coach Rowena Motylewski said. “We shouldn’t have even been in that situation. The errors in the field, the missed pop up ,the missed grounders. You give a good team opportunities and they are going to make you suffer for it.”

Kearney on the other hand made the keys plays in the field. Iannicelli tracked down a ball behind the bag and flipped it to shortstop Millicia Malvasio in the second to keep St. Edmund from getting runners on first and second with no out. In the Later in the inning Malvasio collect a ball that deflected off the glove of Allison Behette at third and fired it to first for the final out.  

“I just gunned it,” she said. “I just took a shot in the dark with that one.”

The win sets up a much anticipated rematch with rival and defending Brooklyn division champion Fontbonne Hall at Dyker Park Monday. Kearney won the first meeting 2-1 and a win would give the Tigers the division crown.

“We are predominately seniors on this team,” Malvasio said. “Everyone wants to make that lasting impression that we finished out with a bang this year.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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