By Laura Amato
This one hurt – again.
The Construction softball team once again came up short in the PSAL “A” city final, falling 11-5 to Susan Wagner at St. John’s University last Friday. It’s the third championship appearance in four years for the Red Hawks and the third time the team couldn’t clinch a title.
“That’s three of the last four years, coming up short like this again,” Construction coach Marco Migliaccio said. “It’s tough and it’s tough on the kids. They work so hard. We just hit a wall today.”
Wagner got out to an early lead, taking advantage of two Construction errors to grab a one-run cushion in the top of the first inning. The Red Hawks answered in the bottom of the frame, sparked by Unique Salas’ RBI double and a Falcons error, but Construction couldn’t hold onto its 2-1 lead.
The Red Hawks struggled on both sides of the ball, making mistakes in the field and failing to find a rhythm at the plate. Wagner plated three runs in the top of the second inning, taking back the lead and setting Construction back on its collective heels.
“I don’t know what happens every time we get here,” Migliaccio said. “They get nervous and caught up in the moment. I mean, throwing to first base and things, I don’t even know how we missed plays. We made five errors and that was generous because I thought we had two more. That kind of stuff is not [how] we play.”
By the final out, Construction made five errors, giving Wagner second and third chances along the base paths.
The Falcons also put bat on ball, however, racking up double-digit hits and finding the gaps in the outfield.
Wagner scored in each of the first four innings, jumping out to a 9-2 lead and effectively wrapping up the victory at the plate.
“They hit the ball and you’ve got to give it to them,” Migliaccio said. “They deserved it and they hit and that’s it.”
While Wagner continued to plate runs, Construction couldn’t find its swing – held to just six hits in the first six innings. The Red Hawks left runners stranded in every inning.
“We couldn’t put a bunt down until the last inning,” Migliaccio said. “It was crazy. That’s our style, small ball and bunts. We couldn’t get a bunt down.”
Construction did its best to rally in the bottom of the seventh – scoring three and giving some of its seniors one last chance to shine – but it was too little, too late.
“I was happy that [senior short stop Lizul Portugal] went out with a base hit and scored and that was good for her to finish her career like that,” Migliaccio said. “Everything. She’s been here since the school opened, since she was a little baby. She’s done everything. She’s the heart and soul here.”
While it’s another disappointing finish for Construction, the Red Hawks did their best to focus on the silver lining. They’ll be back again next year for a fresh start.
“Every year is a different year and it’s just a matter of what happens in the offseason,” Migliaccio said. “They know that and they know they’ve got to get back at it.”