Bayside softball escapes with extra-inning win in thriller against Francis Lewis

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The Bayside softball team was down by two runs in the fifth inning to division rival Francis Lewis. The Commodores were seemingly minutes away from their first league loss in two years with seeding for next week's playoffs at stake. With Lewis up at bat, one of coach Steve Piorkowski's students at Bayside leaned over toward the bench and asked him if he was nervous.

His response?

"Nah," Piorkowski said. "I know we're gonna win this game."

For awhile it didn't seem like it, but the coach proved prophetic after his team exploded for an 11-6 win in extra innings Wednesday afternoon in Fresh Meadows. Down 5-3, Bayside took the lead in the sixth, gave it up again in the seventh and broke through in the ninth with five runs off Francis Lewis starter Tina DeLuca.

"They gotta get ahead of us a lot if they wanna win and they didn't," Piorkowski said.

The Commodores (14-0 Queens I-A) have one of the best pitchers in Queens (Nicole Marra), a top-notch offense and are division champs yet again. But Wednesday proved more than anything how resilient they are. In the fifth, they took advantage of an error by Lewis second baseman Philisha Sepulveda to score two runs and Cadie Chu's RBI single gave Bayside a 6-5 lead.

Lewis (12-4) came back in the bottom of the seventh when DeLuca's single scored Amanda Kesner, but Karina Diaz was thrown out trying to come home from second. The Patriots could have ended the game thereafter, but Marra got Angelica Farrell to strike out and Victoria Lynch to ground out with DeLuca stranded at third.

Bayside blew the game open in the ninth with RBI hits by Mariel Perez, Tai Anne Bishop, Julie Wagner and Chu.

"We just couldn't get that hit or pop fly to get that run in," Francis Lewis coach Bryan Brown said.

The Patriots knew they could play with the Commodores after falling, 2-1, to their rivals March 16. Bayside has laid waste to every other PSAL team in Queens by an average differential of 12 runs per game. What the Patriots got out of this game was the confidence they could hit Marra.

"We want to face them in the playoffs," Farrell said. "We can't wait."

Catcher Danielle Brustmeyer contended that Marra, who struggled getting her curveball over for strikes, didn't have her best game. She'll finish this season 14-0 with a 0.82 earned run average and 150 strikeouts in 85 innings.

"I think they just timed my fastball and put the bat on the ball," Marra said.

The pitcher started off the game with a bang, smoking a two-run home run off DeLuca in the bottom of the first. But Lewis came back in the second, after scoring only one run against Marra in the first game, with a two-run homer by No. 9 hitter Jasmine Perez. Though it was still early and a tie game, the Patriots players mobbed Perez at the plate. In the next inning, they scored three more times, including RBI singles by Lynch and Sepulveda.

"I wouldn't feel bad if I were them," Piorkowski said. "If you fix those mistakes, you're good to go. They got the goods."

Just not the wins.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Marc Raimondi by e-mail at or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 130.

Updated 6:58 pm, October 10, 2011
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