Top-seeded Tottenville cruises to PSAL final
The game plan Saturday was for High School of Construction to limit the damage of Tottenville’s potent middle of the lineup.
The Red Hawks almost followed their plans to the exact detail, but the Pirates unleashed Nicole Fillisetti, Jillian Giuffre and Krista Casale, the 7-8-9 hitters in the order, to smash the Construction blueprints for success.
Tottenville broke open the PSAL Class A semifinal with eight runs in the third and fourth inning to clinch a berth to the Class A final with a 9-1 victory at the College of Staten Island.
The Pirates (20-0), ranked No. 1 in New York City by MSG Varsity, seek their eighth title in nine years against No. 2 seed Wagner in an all-Staten Island final. The game will be held Wednesday at St. John’s University at 6 p.m., following the conclusion of the ‘B’ championship.
Pirates pitcher Cheryl Lopez shook off flu symptoms, and a shaky first two innings, to throw a complete game four-hitter, striking out eight.
Giuffre ignite a four-run rally with a two-run single off Construction ace Britney Rodriguez in the bottom of the third inning. Fillisetti and No. 9-hitter Casale plated two runs in the fourth inning to give Tottenville an 8-1 cushion.
“I think we were a little tight and maybe a little nervous, but we settled down,” Pirates coach Cathy Morano said. “What really was the key was the second inning. We made a nice couple of plays to get of it. It could have gotten uglier there."
Construction coach Marco Migliaccio agreed that outcome could have been different if his team took advantage of some opportunities in the first two innings. The fourth-seeded Red Hawks scored in the first inning on Kailan Luciano’s RBI single to left and could have exploded in the top of the second inning if not for the stellar defense flashed by the defending PSAL champs.
Lopez walked the first two batters, and each advanced on a wild pitch as Emily Perez stepped up with no outs.
Perez attempted to bunt for a hit, but catcher Jen Palase quickly pounced on the ball and threw a strike to Fillisetti, who picked off Nicole Ovelheira leaning from third base.
Lopez started an inning-double play by fielding a Delana Murray ground ball and throwing to first. Nylah Ramirez went home, where Palase tagged out Daniela Isabella at the plate.
Construction (19-2), ranked No. 8 in New York City by MSG Varsity, felt that not striking early would came back to haunt the Hawks.
“It was interesting, if we could have put together a couple of hits in that first few innings, we put the pressure right on with the bats, we did exactly what we wanted to do,” Migliaccio said. “We got the 3-4-5 hitters and Kalian came through, but I thought we would score more than one run in the first and the second.”
Rodriguez got into trouble in the bottom of the third after hitting Ashley Notaro with a pitch to send home Lopez to tie the game at 1. Giuffre then delivered a bases-clearing triple to left-center field to put the Pirates up 4-1.
Tottenville poured it on in the fourth with a two-run double by Fillisetti, and a two-run single by Casale.
“The bottom of the order did a great job today,” Morano said. “Fillisetti, Giuffre and Casale all had big, big hits for us. They gave us that little breathing room. Its only 4-1 [in the fourth inning] at that point, I think they were the key to break it open.”