When the game ended, the search — for a silver lining — began.
The Poly Prep softball team came up short in the New York State Association of Independent Schools championship game on May 24, falling 6–3 to Fieldston at Manhattanville College. It was a tough loss, but the squad did its best to find positives.
“You always want to win, you want to win everything,” Poly coach Mildred Piscopo said. “I’m really happy with the way the kids played today. We came back and just couldn’t get that one big hit. Fieldston took advantage of their opportunities.”
The Blue Devils jumped out to an early lead, scoring the first run of the game in the top of the first inning when senior pitcher Ava O’Mara reached on an error and scored on her sister Morgan’s single.
But Fieldston didn’t stay down long. The Eagles answered in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring three runs on hits from Jesse Leener and Jane Leff and grabbing momentum.
Poly, which had been struggling with injuries all season, was shaky in the field at times, making miscues that allowed Fieldston to get into a rhythm at the plate.
“We had some young kids filling in, and we had some spots that were not as strong,” Piscopo said. “Sometimes when you’re vulnerable those things get exposed.”
The Blue Devils made things interesting down the stretch, taking advantage of an Eagles error in the top of the sixth to spark a two-run rally that tied the game. Ava O’Mara once again dominated at the plate; driving in one of the runs. She finished the day with two hits and reached base in all four of her at-bats.
“She’s always been so passionate about softball,” Piscopo said of the senior captain. “She’s always so pumped for every game. She’s been terrific, doesn’t get fazed out there and just gives you everything.”
O’Mara was likewise strong on the mound, but on this day couldn’t quite wrap up the victory for her team.
An error and a walk by Poly in the bottom of the sixth put two runners on for Leff, who smacked a two-run double on the first pitch she saw, giving Fieldston a lead it would never relinquish and dashing the Blue Devils’ championship hopes.
“[We] put the go-ahead runs on and they had some big hits,” Piscopo said. “I can’t take away from what they did.”
The Blue Devils failed to defend its state championship, but for a young squad that was hampered with injuries all season, even getting to the game was a victory. Now, Poly is simply hoping this experience can fuel another run for the title next season.
“I hope it makes us hungry. You get out here and you get nervous,” Piscopo said of her squad. “So you really want to get that experience and get that game under your belt.”