By Dante Quazzo
Seasoned seniors are supposed to get the big hits in important games and Elise Ong played that role for the Urban School softball team on Thursday at Lang Field.
The Blues rallied from a 6-2 deficit, capped by a bases-loaded, walk-off single from Ong in the eighth inning to beat Marin Academy 7-6 in the Bay Counties League West championship game.
Following three straight singles to begin the bottom half of the eighth, Ong took her turn to drive home the winning run and also plated the tying run with a RBI single in the sixth inning.
“Watching [Marin Academy’s] Olivia [Wilson], and knowing she’s a really strong pitcher, I just tried to watch the pitch,” Ong said. “I just went up there trying to stay out of my head, knowing I could do it.”
Wilson, a senior captain for the third-seeded Wildcats (7-7), certainly did her share, as she pitched all eight innings and went 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs.
“She’s been strong all year for us,” said Marin Academy head coach Nina Richardson. “She’s one of the strongest rocks on the team and I couldn’t ask for a more full-of-heart kid.”
Wilson’s two-run double in the fifth inning put Marin Academy up 6-2, but that was when the Blues (10-5-1) responded.
Back-to-back triples by Elena Goldstein and Abby Shantz highlighted the Urban fifth inning that resulted in two runs, and in the bottom of the sixth, Nicole Greenberg got in on the action with a RBI triple of her own as a part of a two-run inning to knot the score at 6-6.
“We’re a very fundamentally strong team. We don’t make too many baserunning mistakes or errors,” said Urban head coach Michele McMahon. “Early on, we got away from that and I tried to remind them that they just need to relax, play their game and not force anything, and in the end it all came together.”
Elly Fireside-Ostergaard went 3-for-4 with an RBI double for Urban, and Rose Paratore pitched a complete game, allowed just four earned runs and struck out eight. Paratore struggled early and all four earned runs came in the first three innings, but settled down and found a groove the rest of the way.
“Rose is a blessing and has definitely come a long way this season,” McMahon said. “I’m really proud that she held it together when we really needed her to.”
With the win, Urban receives the BCL West’s automatic bid into the North Coast Section Division V tournament next week, while Marin Academy will now have to hope for an at-large bid.
MA – Kate Lehman steals home
U – Chantal Toupin scores on an illegal pitch
MA – Leigh Pomeranz reaches on an error, Sabrina Thacher and Olivia Wilson score
MA – Abbie Rosenbaum singles, Jane Cavagnero scores
U – Elly Fireside-Ostergaard singles, Rose Paratore scores
MA – Wilson doubles, Alyza Garcia and Thacher score
U – Elena Goldstein triples, Maya Herbsman scores
U – Abby Shantz triples, Goldstein scores
U – Nicole Greenberg triples, Fireside-Ostergaard scores
U – Elise Ong singles, Herbsman scores
U – Ong singles, Greenberg scores