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Lewis capitalizes on shoddy defense in win

The difference between No 9 Francis Lewis and 24th-seeded Susan Wagner was evident two innings into the first-round PSAL softball game at Francis Lewis Tuesday.

Defense.

Francis Lewis had it and Wagner didn’t.

The Patriots, the defending city champions, scored two unearned runs on four errors to defeat Wagner, 2-0, in just over an hour.

“We’ve been working on that all year,” said Jessica Gerloven, who was a starting leftfielder last year, but moved to third base. “The bats haven’t come around the way we’ve wanted them to, but we score a couple of runs and get strong defense.”

Francis Lewis (15-7) was admittedly nervous in their first playoff game since defeating Tottenville in the PSAL championship last year, wrestling the title away from Staten Island for the first time in nearly 20 years.

But scoring two gift runs in the first two innings helped to ease their concerns.

In the bottom of the first inning, Tory Meluzin reached on catcher’s interference, advanced to third on a two-base wild pitch and then scored on a throwing error by catcher Lauren Rabinowitz.

Francis Lewis went ahead 2-0 in the second inning when Meghan Wooley singled to right field, advanced to third on a two-base error by rightfielder Dana Ortiz and came around to score on another throwing error by second baseman Ashley DiOrio.

Hard luck loser Jennifer Lee was solid, giving up two unearned runs on four hits, striking out six with no walks.

“Our pitcher pretty much dominated, but just throwing the ball around kills you,” said Wagner coach Jon Manuelian, whose team fell to 4-12. “It was timely errors, or untimely in my case.”

Wooley, meanwhile, gave up six hits while striking out four. But the defense support was there for the senior hurler, who had to fill the rather large shoes of Alyssa Schneebaum, a freshman at Bucknell.

“Since the beginning we’ve improved a lot,” Wooley said. “We’re all working hard, pushing each other to get better.”

The Patriots didn’t make one error and alertly got the lead runner on three fielders’ choices.

“It’s what we’ve lived on,” said Francis Lewis first-year head coach Manny Solomon, whose team advances to play No. 8 Madison Thursday. “We spend a lot of time on defense and we’re proud of what we’ve done defensively. We know we need to work offensively.”

Bryant 3, New Dorp 0. Ally Stamatiades pitched a no-hitter, striking out 15 and Nina Chao had two hits and two runs scored in a first-round win for No. 5 Bryant (33-3).

Townsend Harris 15, Hunter College HS 2. Patty Pabon went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and Alyssa Wick struck out eight in a two-hitter for No. 18 Townsend Harris (10-12) in a first-round playoff game.

Bergtraum 14, John Adams 2. Slavia Soto went 2-for-4, belted a three-run home run and struck out 10 in six innings and Sonia Sendoya went 2-for-3 with two RBIs for No. 12 Bergtraum (18-7-1).

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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