QUEENSBURY, N.Y. -- When Kerry Keenan blew out the candles on her birthday cake, she must have wished that she’d get the biggest hit in the history of Sayville softball.
Sometimes, wishes do come true.
Keenan, a seldom-used back-up catcher, celebrated her 17th birthday Saturday by delivering a pinch-hit, game-tying RBI single that propelled Sayville to a 5-4 win over Jamesville-Dewitt and gave the program its first Class A state title.
“It was probably the best feeling of my life,” Keenan said. “I almost passed out of happiness when I got to the base.”
Starting pitcher and No. 3 hitter Merissa Selts left the game in the top of the fifth inning after being struck with a line drive on her pitching hand. With Sayville trailing 4-3, Kira Karl led off the bottom of the inning with a bunt single and Emily Sellitti followed with a single to left. Keenan was then called upon to bat for Selts.
The birthday girl hit a grounder that just eluded the shortstop’s glove and brought home Karl to tie the game at 4.
Keenan said that she wanted to come through for Selts to reward her for all that she had done for the team.
“The first thing she said is that she did it for me,” Selts said. “She truly won the game for us.”
Keenan’s close friend Cindy Griffin also played a role in the win.
She hit a sharp grounder to short that was bobbled, allowing Sellitti to beat the throw home for the go-ahead run.
Keenan, a junior catcher in her first year on varsity, got occasional starts at designated hitter during the season. Sayville coach Tiffany Rowan recalled Keenan coming to her office asking what she could do to help the team. Rowan simply told her to be ready because you never know when you’re spot will come.
Her spot came yesterday.
“She will remember this for the rest of her life,” Rowan said. “She helped bring the plaque home to us and we’re state champs.”
In the midst of the postgame celebration, the newly crowned state champions gathered around Keenan in the infield and sang Happy Birthday to their unlikely hero.
“This is without a doubt,” she said, “the best birthday gift I’ve ever got.”