After every pitch she threw, Alyssa Bluethgen appeared to look at her watch.
Considering how long the game was, with Commack pulling out a 10-8 win over Connetquot in 10 innings on Monday, it was understandable. But as it turns out, she wasn't even wearing a watch.
Latest HS sports stories
She was actually looking at her wristband.
Each Commack infielder also wears one. Printed on them are a series of numbers that let the fielders know what pitch is being thrown and where it will be located. Coach Harold Cooley shouts out three numbers, everyone glances at their wrists, the infielders relay the information to the outfielders, and the defense shifts accordingly.
This system, more commonly used in college softball, is used in place of signs.
"It helps us get on the same page," rightfielder Alexa Corben said. "So one person doesn't think the pitch is going outside and another thinks it's going inside."
Perhaps that's why, with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 10th, Bluethgen induced a grounder that was hit directly to third baseman Jill McFadzen, who tossed to first to end the game.
"This is a big win," said Bluethgen, who allowed seven hits and struck out 11 over 10 innings. "Pulling this game out gives us confidence going forward."
With Gianna Venuti on third in the top of the 10th, Gabby Gambino advanced to second on a grounder. She intentionally took a wide turn around the base, baiting Connetquot into a throw. Venuti immediately took off for home and scored safely to give Commack an 8-7 lead.
"It was a set play," said Venuti, who went 2-for-4 with a two-run triple. "We were very aggressive on the bases. Gabby was going to try to get in a pickle so I could go home."
Gambino later scored on an error and Corben, who went 2-for-5 with two RBIs, singled in another run to increase the lead to 10-7 for Commack (2-0).
Sarah McKeveny tossed 10 innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits with 10 strikeouts for Connetquot (2-2). Emma O'Donnell went 3-for-6, including a double that pulled the Thunderbirds even at 5 in the fourth.
Commack scored two in the fifth inning on a wild pitch and an overthrow to the plate. Victoria Swaine, who blasted a two-run homer in the third, then hit an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth as Connetquot tied the score at 7.
One out from victory, Bluethgen stood in the circle with the bases full and one thing on her mind.
"All I was thinking," she said, "was don't screw this up."
She took one last look at her wrist, and delivered.