By Dylan Butler
It was a marquee matchup, a game featuring two of the best PSAL softball teams in Queens. And like a great Hollywood murder mystery, the game between division leading Francis Lewis and second-place Bayside kept you guessing until the final out.
There were mammoth hits, sparkling defensive plays and some other defensive and base running plays that boggled the mind.
In the end it was Bayside rightfielder Justine Kraus, the No. 7 batter, who was the unlikely hero as her opposite field single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh scored pinch runner Tannyka Bent from third to lift the Commodores to a thrilling 4-3 win Tuesday at the Bayside Athletic Field.
“This is what these games come down to, the loser is the one who makes the most errors,” said Bayside catcher Talia Fromm, who belted a leadoff triple in the bottom of the seventh inning. “I was happy to see how tight this team is defensively and offensively.”
Fromm made one of several eye-opening defensive plays in the third inning when Francis Lewis designated player Liz Bloch laid down a beautiful squeeze bunt. Fromm leapt up from her crouching position, fielded the ball and then dove across the plate to tag out a sliding Stephanie Alves — although it did appear Alves beat the tag — to preserve the scoreless game.
Francis Lewis (13-2, 8-2 Queens A) drew first blood on Lucia Oswald’s massive two-run home run to left field in the top of the fourth inning.
Just as they had in the third inning, Bayside (13-2, 9-2 Queens A) threatened to score in the fourth, loading the bases with no outs.
Rosemary Mosquera lined out to Lewis first baseman Victoria Gardner, who alertly tagged out Gayle Silverstein for the double play. But then, according to Lewis coach Judy McCleary, Gardner thought she heard someone say, ‘Go home,’ so she fired the ball towards a stunned Oswald. The ball rolled out of play and Kim Hattan and Kraus each scored to tie the game at 2.
“You can’t make a lot of errors against a team like Bayside,” McCleary said. “We made a lot of stupid errors, but I guess it’s better now than in the playoffs.”
Each team scored a run in the fifth inning on a pair of unlikely wild pitches from Lewis pitcher Alyssa Schneebaum and Bayside starter Sapphire Edwards.
Lewis appeared to have a great chance at taking the lead in the top of the seventh inning when Alves, who walked and stole second, reached third on a wild pitch with one out. Bloch followed with a deep shot to center field, but the speedy Annel Sanchez, who is only in her third year of organized softball, made a brilliant leaping catch.
Instead of easily tagging up, Alves had to hustle back to third base.
Bayside retaliated in the bottom of the seventh with Fromm’s lead-off triple to right and it surely appeared the Commodores would easily win. But Schneebaum got Edwards to ground out to third and Hattan popped out weakly to second before Kraus, with a two-strike count, lofted the ball into right field to end the game.
“I wanted to hit it far, I heard [Schneebaum] was telling her coach ‘I got her,’ and I knew I had to hit it far.”
John Adams 17, Van Buren 10. Natasha Kirkland led Adams (8-1 Queens A), going 3-for-4 with a home run and five RBIs.
Forest Hills 16, Queens Vocational 2. Amelia Berger went 4-for-4 with five RBIs, three stolen bases and two runs scored for Forest Hills (16-2, 9-1 Queens B-II).
Jamaica 12, Richmond Hill 11. Kedesha Farquharson scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch with two outs in the bottom of the seventh for Jamaica (5-6 Queens B-III).
Grover Cleveland 18, Long Island City 2. Laura Melo belted a grand slam for the Indians, who improved to 8-4 in Queens B-II.
Bryant 17, Cardozo 14. Allison Stupakavic was 5-for-6 with four RBIs for Bryant (4-7 Queens A).
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.