By Joseph Staszewski
The Red Hawks left more upset with how they lost than the fact that consecutive city titles eluded their grasp.
Top-seeded Construction turned in a less than stellar performance in a 13-3 defeat at the hands of No. 3 Tottenville in the PSAL Class A softball final Sunday at St. John’s University.
Construction made two of its six errors in the opening frame and watched the Pirates score five times on their way to avenging Tottenville’s title game loss last year.
“I know we are a better team than that,” Red Hawks senior ace Britney Rodriguez said. “We just fell short. We didn’t come out the way we’re supposed to.”
It was her own wild throw to first from her knees that set a bad tone in the opening frame, but Construction Coach Marco Migliaccio said his squad should have picked its leader up.
Instead, Tottenville (19-1) scored five times on three hits in the first inning. The Pirates added six more runs in the third to make it 11-0, while pounding Rodriguez for five hits including a two-run homer by freshman catcher Jamie Holmes.
Holmes and her Tottenville teammate, senior shortstop Jillian Regan, combined to go 7-for-14 with six runs scored and five RBIs. Migliaccio recalled when his team turned in a similar performance in a 13-1 loss to Bayside in late April.
“Horrible flashbacks,” the coach said. “Those two innings were just unbelievable, totally unexpected. That first inning, it set the tone.”
His team did attempt to rally in the fourth when it loaded the bases with no outs. Construction’s Nicole Ovelheira delivered a two-run single and Amy Pirozek later scored on an error to make it 11-3 with no outs.
A pop-out, ground-out and Ovelheira being thrown out on a close play at home ended any hope of more runs. Construction (18-2) managed just four hits against Tottenville starter Gilizia Mendoza.
“I had the feeling that, if we would have gotten a couple more hits, it would have brought everybody’s spirit up and would have helped us,” Pirozek said. “It didn’t work out.”
While the end wasn’t the storybook conclusion they had envisioned, seniors Rodriguez, Pirozek, Daniela Isabella and Karina Aquino leave behind careers that will never be forgotten at the Ozone Park school.
They helped propel the Red Hawks from a Class B team to one of the city’s best softball squads. Construction reached at least the semifinals each season and won the Class A title last year. By doing so, they became one of just two teams to beat Tottenville in the final during the last 11 years and own a 3-2 record against the Pirates in the last three years.
“This is not how I wanted it to end,” Rodriguez said. “I wanted to end with another championship, but I have a strong team behind me. They all pick each other up and we tried out best.”