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Blaise of Glory: Behar’s homer powers Poly past Fieldston

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Blaise Behar couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.

Fieldston School was trying to argue that the Poly Prep left fielder’s go-head, solo homer in the top of the ninth didn’t clear the temporary fencing in right, but bounced over and should have been a ground-rule double. The junior begged to differ.

“I saw it. I don’t know what they were saying when it bounced,” Behar said. “I knew it went out. I started jogging around shortstop.”

The umpires agreed after a conference, and the clutch hit was the difference in the Blue Devils’ 3–2 win in nine innings against rival and host Fieldston in Ivy League softball on April 20 — a rematch of last season’s private-school state final that the Eagles won.

It was Behar’s only hit of the game, but she made it count — and propelled her team into first place. Teammates mobbed her at home plate, because they and her coaches had little doubt of what she just did.

“If it hit the ground and bounced over, you would have seen it hit and go over the yellow [bar],” Poly’s Mildred Piscopo said. “It was pretty obvious it landed the first time on the other side of the fence.”

Behar was the hero thanks to junior ace Ava O’Mara’s a gutty performance in the circle. The hurler allowed two runs on five hits, walked none, hit a batter, and struck out 10.

The biggest two strikeouts came in the bottom of the seventh when she worked around a runner on second with one out as Fieldston (5–1) tried to carry over the momentum of an inning-ending double play from the top of the frame. She worked her game plan effectively.

“It was more just to really hit my corners,” said O’Mara, who had two hits. “If I give them anything, they are a good team, they will take it. You have to work the corners and get ahead of the count.”

Fieldston, the three-time defending state champion, did grab the early lead with two runs in the fourth. Jane Leff singled home pinch runner Isabella Caban, and freshman shortstop Willa Ferrer came around on a fielders choice to make it 2–0.

It appeared Poly (5–0) was going to have little luck against Eagles ace Temma Levis after it drew even in the fifth on a ground ball by Morgan O’Mara (Ava’s sister) and a throwing error. Levis allowed seven hits, walked one, and fanned 11. Morgan O’Mara and Jane Malafronte each added two hits for the Blue Devils.

Poly had two runners thrown out at home to end the frame. They hit into a 2–2–3 double play on a popped-up bunt in the seventh and had another thrown out at second to end the eighth. Piscopo was pleased with how her team responded.

“If we had gone out on the field and folded in any way, I would have worried more,” she said.

Her team also knows it can’t get too high off this win, which members celebrated loudly — but quickly — after the final out. Poly beat Fieldston to start the season last year, but lost the last two meetings. Still, it is something they can build off of.

“It’s good for us to know that we can come out on top,” Behar said. “It’s good for us to know that we can beat them.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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