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Pioneers: Newtown wins softball crown

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The Pioneers sent 18 players to bat and scored 13 runs on seven hits in the bottom of...

By Mitch Abramson

Newtown awakened John Bowne from its dream season, pouring cold water on the 29th seed’s hopes in the first inning of Saturday’s PSAL ‘B’ softball championship game.

The Pioneers sent 18 players to bat and scored 13 runs on seven hits in the bottom of the first inning to support a dominant pitching performance from senior Erika Collado, who struck out four and held the Wildcats to just three hits in a 14-0 win that was halted in the fifth because of the mercy rule at St. John’s University.

Kathleen Gorman had four RBIs and Katelyn Ranzie drove in two runs for Newtown, which put 16 runners on base in the first inning.

Senior Annie Wu began the onslaught by scoring when Gloria Fernandez, Bowne’s catcher threw the ball into center field on a toss back to the pitcher.

It only got worse for Bowne (14-7), which nearly lost pitcher Chantal Biscette when she collided with catcher Gloria Fernandez in the semifinals against John F. Kennedy, nearly knocking both unconscious.

Biscette didn’t leave the game then and she didn’t leave against Newtown (27-9) even though her pitches were scraping the dirt before reaching the catcher.

“I saw that the pitcher wasn’t throwing fast pitches, so I gave them the sign to swing,” said Newtown fourth-year coach Wayne Crawford, who lost in the quarterfinals last year and in the inaugural city championship game in 2002. “I wanted to hit. I didn’t want to walk. It’s funny: something happens whenever Erika pitches. [Her teammates] want to play for her. I can’t explain it. I guess they want to believe in something.”

Crawford gave his team something to believe in when he played Whitney Houston’s ‘One Moment In Time’ in practice the day before the final. After listening to the song, he asked his players why they wanted to win on Saturday.

Collado (14-0), who shut out Beach Channel 12-0 in the semifinals and was persuaded to go out for softball her sophomore year by volleyball coach, Bob Kunkel, a volunteer assistant in softball, found herself in a jam in the top of the first when Biscette grounded to third and reached second on a throwing error.

Gloria Fernandez singled to left to move Biscette over, but Heather Monterosso lined to shortstop Laura Ulloa, who threw to third to double up Biscette to end the inning.

“We know she’s going to throw strikes, so we have confidence in her,” said Wu, who also had an RBI-single in the first. “Our job is to back her up and make plays in the field.”

Biscette was having trouble locating the strike zone. The lanky pitcher was used to low pitches being called strikes in the semifinal game and didn’t react well to a higher zone, but after the second when she gave up an RBI-single to Gorman, the Flushing resident settled down and didn’t allow a runner past second the rest of the game.

Biscette, who claimed not to suffer from nerves during the terminal first inning, still believed the Wildcats would come back to win.

“We had came back against other teams,” the senior said. “I thought we would do the same today. Still, the experience of making it to the final when nobody thought we would make it was great.”

Reach reporter Mitch Abramson by E-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 130.

Posted 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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