St. John the Baptist ends Kellenberg's 50-game CHSAA softball winning streak
Kaitlin Hoffmann's blooper just barely landed fair.
Emily Quatrale's glove just barely reached the ball.
Sofia Evangelista's curveball just barely caught the plate.
By those slight margins, St. John the Baptist just barely hung on to do what no team from Long Island has done since 2010: Beat Kellenberg.
The Cougars emerged with a 2-1 win over the Firebirds, snapping the defending state champions' streak of 37 consecutive wins and 50-game league wining streak in the CHSAA.
With SJB hitless and trailing by one in the bottom of the sixth inning, Quatrale lined the first pitch she saw for a double to the gap in right-center to bring home Kelly Whalen, who walked to lead off the inning. After Taylor Fay walked to put runners on the corners, Hoffmann stepped to the plate.
"It's definitely a position that every softball player wants to be in," she said. "You want to be the one that helps your team out and gets the win. As I was up there I was thinking, 'You got to get it done for your team. Do it for everybody.' "
Hoffmann fell behind 0-and-2 before evening the count. She then hit a blooper just over the first baseman's head and just inside the foul line to score Quatrale for the go-ahead run.
After Kathryn Eiler drew a leadoff walk in the top of the seventh to put the tying run on, Cristen Whigham ripped a line drive up the middle. But Quatrale, playing shortstop, dove to her left and made a full-extension catch to prevent a first-and-third, no-out situation.
"They always say dive for everything," Quatrale said. "I have never dove and caught a ball before so it was kind of new. I had to look in my glove to make sure I caught it."
The catch stalled the threat but didn't end it, as Kellenberg loaded the bases. Up 0-and-2 in the count, Evangelista froze the batter with a curveball on the outside corner to secure the dramatic win for SJB (4-2).
"I was just happy to be in that spot," said Evangelista, who allowed only three hits and struck out six. "I love being in those positions and I just wanted to get it done . . . I'm in shock."
Sabrina DeAngelis carried a no-hitter into the sixth and struck out seven. She also went 2-for-3, including an RBI single in the fourth to score Stephanie Staiano and give Kellenberg (6-1) a 1-0 lead. But that was all Evangelista would allow.
"This team has the capability of playing with the best of the best and winning," SJB coach Brianne Herr said. "This game proved that and they showed their potential."
They've just barely scratched the surface.