SOUTH GLENS FALLS, N.Y. - Perhaps the Band-Aid removal theory is applicable here and it's best to get it out of the way quickly: The final score was 21-4.
Sayville was on the wrong end of that tally in the state Class A softball final Saturday. It stung and it was embarrassing, they said, and if it was even possible to sugarcoat, the Golden Flashes refused to.
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"I never even want to see that number again," catcher Olivia Kaczmarek said.
Sayville came undone and Williamsville South erupted offensively to capture the championship at Moreau Park.
"The score was unfortunate," said senior Kristen Bricker, who was a member of the Sayville squad that won a state title in 2012. "Everything just fell apart in a couple innings and we couldn't stop it."
Williamsville South took command with a nine-run third inning and all but secured the victory with five runs in the fifth. The Billies' final four runs in the sixth did little more than make spectators cringe.
"We didn't come full force," pitcher Allie Petillo said. "That score is going to bother us for a while. We crumbled for a few innings and paid for it. But that score doesn't reflect the kind of team we are."
It doesn't. Because the Golden Flashes (22-4) have, in fact, won three straight Long Island championships. They lost to Hamburg, 5-3, in last year's state final.
Sayville struck immediately Saturday and went up 2-0 in the top of the first on Bricker's two-run double. But Carlie Scime tied it for Williamsville South with a two-run single in the second and came home on an error to take the lead.
Bricker answered in the third with a tying RBI double that drove in Chrissy Milone. But it unraveled in the bottom of that inning.
Emily Martin led off with an infield single and the Billies (18-2) followed with successive bunt singles to load the bases. Bri Clark's single to center gave them a 4-3 lead. What followed was a series of miscues and misplays with three run-scoring hits interspersed.
Down 7-3 with one out in the inning, Petillo relieved starter Julia Simpson, but, Bricker said, "We just couldn't stop the bleeding."
"We just didn't come with our best game," Sayville coach Tiffany Rowan said. "It's upsetting because I know we could've played better . . . But I also know it's not easy to accomplish what we have and I'm proud of my team. Winning Suffolk and Long Island titles can't be ignored."
Nor should it be overlooked that Sayville again advanced to the state final. It beat Pearl River, 4-2, Saturday afternoon in a semifinal. Lyndsey Shaw's two-run double in the seventh scored Bricker and Petillo, after Pearl River rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the fifth. Simpson allowed two runs in five innings and Petillo pitched two scoreless for the win.
"The last two years haven't ended the way we want it to," Bricker said, "but the run of success we've had is amazing. I'll shed some tears, I know, but in the end, we'll keep our heads up. We should."