BRISTOL - After giving up a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, the girls from South Shore American Little League in New York didn’t waste any time getting back on the scoreboard in extra innings.
New York scored five runs in the top of the seventh to stay alive with an 8-3 win over New Jersey in the Little League Softball Eastern Regional Monday night at Breen Field in Bristol.
“It was a big rush to come back that late in the game,” New York’s Julianna Martin said. “And to fall behind right in the last inning, it really gets you scared in the last inning and gets you motivated to win.”
Martin and Julia Sorrentino each had big hits in the inning, Martin drove in a pair on a single to center field and Sorrentino ripped a base hit to left field. Natalie Genzale and Annalisa Fiumefreddo drove in the first two runs of the inning on ground balls.
It was a sigh of relief for Martin, who had a tough sixth inning after pitching five dominant innings of one-hit ball.
“I feel like I had to pick my team up and pick myself up and bring my team back after some mistakes in the last inning,” Martin said.
It was a heartbreaker for New Jersey, which had all the momentum following a memorable bottom of the sixth.
New Jersey was down to its final out, but its offense came to life, not giving up after getting one-hit over the first five innings.
New Jersey scored three runs to tie the game, off a two-run single from Lauren Scharko and a game-tying base hit from Katrina Benton.
Leading up to the final inning Martin was electric on the mound for New York. She finished the game with six innings pitched, three earned runs and struck out five. Fiumefreddo pitched the seventh inning and closed the door on New Jersey, allowing one hit and walking a batter, but keeping the lead at 8-3.
Christine Girellini finished 3-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored for New York. She also had an impressive diving catch in the first inning.
“Without a strong defense, then all the runs would come in,” Girellini said. “Jules does an awesome job pitching and pitching strikes. And when they hit the ball our defense is there to stand by her and make the plays.”
Martin was 2-for-5 with four RBI in the game, adding to her strong pitching performance.
Giana Scotti, Adrianna LaBarbera and Vanessa Cascio added hits in the game for New York.
Serena Amato stole a pair of bases and Cascio added a steal.
Erin Hoppe, Kelci O’Dell and Emeline Kovac had hits in the game for New Jersey, along with Scharko and Benton.
Allison Hoppe pitched strong in her six innings. She struck out seven and was a tough-luck loser, allowing just one earned run on five total runs allowed in the six innings.
With the win, New York will take on the loser of Pennsylvania and Connecticut in its next game today at 4 p.m.