By Laura Amato
The High School for Construction softball team dug itself into a hole and could never quite find its way out, falling to Tottenville 13-5 in the PSAL Class A championship.
The Red Hawks racked up four errors in the field and left 11 players stranded on base in Sunday’s game, a disappointing finish to an otherwise dominant season.
“We had a job to do it and we didn’t do it,” Construction coach Marco Migliaccio said. “We had to have quality at-bats. We had a lot of opportunities and we didn’t. That was the key.”
Construction seemed in control early, putting up a run in each of the first three innings, but the Red Hawks were never able to truly break things open and Tottenville answered every hit with one of its own.
It was a back-and-forth affair until the top of the fourth inning, when one call changed the course of the game.
Red Hawks shortstop Lizul Portugal was ejected from the game after a physical run-in with Tottenville catcher Adrianna Razzore at home plate, but a conference between umpires and PSAL officials reversed the call.
Portugal was called out at home, but stayed in the game, a whiplash turn of events that left each squad’s collective heads spinning. No one was more confused than Portugal herself.
“I’m going to say that messed with my head,” Portugal said. “This game out of all games, I didn’t want to be put out. I was emotional. After that play, that was like the turning point.”
The call was reversed due to a PSAL rule that reads, “a player may slide, may go around, may go over, but may not deliberately crash into a player with the intent to knock her out.” Officials ruled that Portugal had not been running to injure. Tottenville, naturally, protested the decision, but the discussion didn’t last long, The Pirates then put their frustration to good use at the plate.
Tottenville exploded for five runs on five hits and one Construction error in the bottom of the fourth, seizing the lead and, more importantly, the momentum.
“We’ve been like that all season long,” Pirates coach Cathy Morano said. “We just keep coming back. I think it kind of brought us out and we responded to that, it motivated us.”
Construction did its best to rally.
Portugal blasted a solo home run over the center field fence in the sixth inning and Caitlin Vernon added an RBI single, but it wasn’t quite enough. Tottenville answered the offensive outburst with one of its own, responding with five more runs in the bottom of the stanza, highlighted by Jessica Giardiello’s bases-clearing triple.
The Red Hawks were certainly disappointed with the way the season ended, but if the squad was being honest, they never quite expected to be here in the first place. Now, Construction has a chip on its shoulder and this team is ready to get back to the championship next year and win it.
“It just hurts because we didn’t execute where we were supposed to execute,” Migliaccio said. “We’ve been saying we’re a year ahead. I never thought we’d be here this year. I’m proud of all of them.”