By Marc Raimondi
Francis Lewis already had two chances to prove itself against elite teams in the PSAL. Instead, the Patriots were shut out by both Susan Wagner and Construction.
But, in arguably its last chance to earn one of the top playoff seeds, Lewis bounced back in a big way. The Patriots came back from three runs down in the seventh to stun powerhouse James Madison 7-6 in PSAL Class AA softball last Thursday in Brooklyn.
“It was a big win for us,” Lewis Coach Bryan Brown said. “We really needed that. I thought we played with a lot of emotion.”
He worried about his team in that respect in the losses to Wagner and Construction. Brown felt the Patriots were just going through the motions, content that last year’s successful season — they advanced to the PSAL Class AA semifinals — would carry them through.
That wasn’t the case last Thursday. Lewis (7-2 Queens A-I) was down 3-0 and came back. It was behind 6-3 and came back to take the lead down to its final out. Samantha Stelloh scored the tying run on a wild pitch and Alina Cerda scored the go-ahead tally on a groundball by Selena Lallave.
“We needed a win to see how to get back to how we play,” Brown said. “Last year I thought we were really gritty. This year we took things for granted.”
Stelloh was 1-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored and Kiara Libreros and Samantha Lallave each had two hits off Madison starter Cheyenne Tatesure, who walked seven and gave up three earned runs. Lewis ace Priscilla Lallave gave up five earned runs on nine hits in seven innings.
“We capitalized on a couple of mistakes that they made,” Brown said. “We took advantage of it. That’s what you have to do.”
Gina Gerone went 3-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored and Samantha Rodriguez and Victoria Slavik each had an RBI apiece for Madison (6-2 Brooklyn A), which fell to Tottenville 3-0 in a title game rematch April 16.
Lewis salvages this tough two-week stretch and will now focus on big league games against Cardozo May 1 and Bayside May 8. Bayside beat the Patriots in the first meeting.
“I hope this is a launch for us,” Brown said. “This was a good one.”