Kelly Cembrale helps Island Trees rally to top Plainedge
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Island Trees had the perfect person at the plate when the heat was on . . . Ice.
That's what the team calls Kelly Cembrale, a sophomore who earned the nickname because of her ability to remain unfazed in pressure situations.
She showed once again that she has ice water in her veins, delivering the go-ahead RBI single in the top of the eighth inning Monday to propel No. 2 Island Trees to a come-from-behind 9-7 win over No. 1 Plainedge in Game 1 of the Class A county championship series at Mitchel Athletic Complex.
"This win says that we are really clutch," said Cembrale, who went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, "and we get the job done when we need to."
The Bulldogs overcame a 4-0 deficit and were trailing 7-6 when Shamar Sanchez led off the top of the seventh with a fly to centerfield that got under the glove of a charging outfielder and continued to roll for a game-tying home run. Sanchez, who singled home Cembrale in the eighth to make it 9-7, went 4-for-5 with four RBIs.
"I put all my effort into my swing and I ran as fast as I have ever ran, and jumped on the plate," she said. "Right then, I knew this game was ours."
Ashley Melendez, who shifted from first base to the circle in the seventh, got help from a beautiful diving stop by Tori Tedeshi, then induced a fly ball to Christie Ciaramitaro in right with two on for the final out.
"It means the world to me that my team has faith in me to come in during a tough situation and get us out of it," Melendez said.
Plainedge's Taylor Curran went 4-for-5 with three RBIs, including an RBI double in the sixth to give the defending county champions a 7-6 lead.
With Plainedge leading 6-3 with two outs in the fifth, Cembrale hit an RBI triple, Sanchez an RBI double and Melendez an RBI triple to tie the score.
"Even if we're down, we never stay down," Sanchez said. "We know what we're capable of doing. Even if it takes us the whole game to get it, we always fight back and we win."