Katie Wallace's surprise bunt drives in tying, winning runs for Sayville
There were signs that this was no ordinary play. For one thing, Sayville's Katie Wallace hadn't been asked to bunt once this season. For another, there were two outs in the bottom of the sixth, with the tying run on third and the go-ahead run on first. More weirdness: The count was 3-and-2 and Wallace had gamely fouled off several pitches in a quality at-bat.
She was so intense about what she was doing that she admitted: "I didn't realize what the count was. I was so focused on putting the ball in play."
That explains why she didn't even flinch or ask for time when Sayville coach Tiffany Rowan -- inadvertently, as it turned out -- flashed the bunt sign.
"I saw the bunt sign and I just laid it down and ran," Wallace said. The ball was well-placed between the catcher and pitcher. When the throw to first went awry, Wallace had a bunt single that drove in the tying run and courtesy runner Danielle Koster scored all the way from first with what proved to be the winning run in Sayville's 5-4 victory over Carey on Friday in the Long Island Class A softball championship game at Mitchel Athletic Complex.
"When I saw the other run score, I was so excited I just ran into an out," Wallace said with a laugh, describing how she was easily thrown out at third.
"I gave the sign," Rowan said, "but I didn't exactly mean to. There was a miscommunication. But Katie had a great at-bat. She fouled off pitches. They weren't expecting it. It worked."
The bizarre play allowed the Golden Flashes (21-3) to win their third straight Long Island title and Southeast Regional final. They will play in a state Class A semifinal next Saturday in Queensbury. Carey, which got a long home run over the centerfield fence from Rebecca Vilchez, finished 24-3.
Carey sent up the heart of its order against Allie Petillo in the bottom of the seventh. Petillo had relieved Julie Simpson after the fifth and had an RBI single in the three-run sixth. She has a herky-jerky motion, all flailing arms, twisting hips and leg thrusts, and sometimes ends with a loud grunt.
"I took a step back and thought about what I had to throw," she said. She got the first two batters on a grounder and liner to short and ended the game with a swinging strikeout. "I threw a screwball on the last pitch," she said before adding with a wide smile, "It had a grunt on it."
A grunt and a screwball. Of course.