By Troy Mauriello
The Construction offense celebrated Cinco de Mayo with a hit parade.
In a matchup featuring the top two softball teams in the PSAL Queens A Division, the Red Hawks scored early and often en route to a decisive 14-0 run-rule victory over host Bayside May 5.
“It was very good, because we score right from the beginning and kind of demoralize teams, so that’s something we’ve been working on,” Construction coach Marco Migliaccio said.
The win clinched a ninth-straight division championship for Construction over the A and B leagues as the young Red Hawks continue to exceed expectations this season. They will once again go into the postseason seemingly playing their best softball.
Shortstop Lizul Portugal went 2-for-2 with a pair of walks and a game-high four RBI. She played a big role in Red Hawks rallies in both the first and third innings. Construction jumped right on the board in the first with a seven-run opening frame, sending 11 batters to the plate.
“As soon as we jumped on them, that took off the pressure, so… it makes it easier for our pitcher so she doesn’t have as much stress on her,” Portugal said.
Portugal got the scoring going with a double that plated catcher Kassandra Granobles, and that sparked a string of five straight batters reaching base for Construction to give the Red Hawks a 5-0 lead.
After the streak was broken, left fielder Kayla Steele drove in one more with an RBI triple, and she then came around to score on a single from Granobles, her second hit of the inning.
Once the first inning fireworks concluded, Construction extended its lead to 9-0 with two more in the second. From there, a five-run third inning put the run rule into effect.
In that third, all of the Red Hawks’ scoring came from the long ball. A three-run shot from Portugal made it 12-0, and a two-run homer three batters later from third baseman Unique Salas completed the scoring. Bayside fell to 8-3.
Construction starter Claudia Migliaccio was effective through a complete-game shutout win. Working with such a large lead, she pitched to contact and struck out just four in five innings. She allowed two hits and three total base runners.
“That [the seven-run first inning] helped me a lot actually, because that put in my mind that we had this game,” she said. “As long as I just hold them, keep them down, then we should be good.”
The Red Hawks (12-1) have now won 11 straight league games since an 8-3 loss to Tottenville March 30. But the young Red Hawks and their coach still know that there are improvements to be made if they are to make another run at a city title.
When asked if his team was playing the best that it could at this point in the season, Marco Migliaccio was a bit cautious.
“Not yet. It’s getting there, it’s getting close, but not yet,” he said.
For all of their humility, the young Red Hawks still have to feel as though they have already met or exceeded their expectations this year, but now their focus is shifting towards making some noise in the postseason.
“I feel like we have the potential to make it all the way,” Portugal said. “But that’s only if we’re playing our best and we’re playing together, offense and defense. I’m smelling final four, honestly.”