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Bayside blows lead in semifinal loss to Tott

By the time she stopped listening, all she and her players could...

Cathy Morano heard about Bayside’s Annel Sanchez, but she never saw her up close. The Tottenville softball coach was warned that Sanchez would steal on her and Sanchez would hit on her.

By the time she stopped listening, all she and her players could think of was stopping Sanchez, the Commodores leadoff hitter in the PSAL ‘A’ semifinals last Thursday on the Great Lawn in Central Park.

“We had it in our head that [to win the game] we had to get her out,” she said.

Fortunately for Morano, Sanchez did minimal damage. She flied out to right in the sixth inning and didn’t get a chance to bat with Bayside down 5-4, the bases loaded and no outs in the seventh.

That gave Tottenville’s Allison Castellucci, who entered the game as a reliever, the middle of the lineup to work with and she struck out the first two batters and got the third to ground out to preserve the 5-4 win.

The loss for No. 4 Bayside and coach Steve Piorkowski, who lost five starters from last year, continued a frustrating trend of going far in the post-season but falling short of the finals.

Under his tenure, the Commodores have reached the seems six times and lost each time.

The Commodores threatened that streak when Sanchez scored twice in the first two innings to stake Bayside(23-4) to a 4-0 lead.

As the pitcher, she retired nine of the first eleven batters she faced and robbed Joanna Pellecchia of an infield single on a diving catch. But Bayside collapsed in the fourth when Diana Ruddy singled and scored on a double and Castellucci homered to deep left to trail 4-3. Top-seeded Tottenville tied it in the sixth on a throwing error and took the lead for good on a fielder’s choice RBI by pinch-hitter Diana Dillon.

“I would have rather won this game and lost in the finals just to make it to the finals,” Sanchez said. “This season was a learning process for a lot of people. We’re pretty much set for next year,” she said of the ten underclassmen on the team.”

— Mitch Abramson

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