Tiffani Parente plays through pain as East Rockaway forces Game 3 with win over Locust Valley

East Rockaway's Gianna Cilluffo delivers a pitch during

East Rockaway's Gianna Cilluffo delivers a pitch during her team's 5-2 victory over Locus Valley. (May 21, 2013) (Credit: Bob Mitchell)

Tiffani Parente was keeping her fingers crossed that she could play -- even though one of them was in a splint.

"I have a broken finger," she said. "I didn't tell my coach because I wanted to play."

Parente injured the index finger on her right hand while sliding into third base in Game 1 on Monday, and although she said she hasn't yet seen a doctor to confirm that it's broken, she wore a splint while sitting on the bench Tuesday.

Then she got called on to pinch hit in the sixth inning . . . and she ripped that splint right off.

Parente came through just as the Rocks have all season, hitting a two-run single to cap a four-run inning and seal No. 4 East Rockaway's 5-2 win over No. 2 Locust Valley in Game 2 of the Class B county championship series at Mitchel Athletic Complex. Game 3 is Thursday at 4 p.m. at Mitchel.

"I absolutely did not expect to play today," she said. "But I knew I had to do something to help us win."

Gianna Cilluffo went the distance, allowing seven hits with eight strikeouts.

Jackie D'Elia hit a two-run single to give Locust Valley a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Caitlin O'Mara drove in the tying run with a fielder's choice that scored Jessica Depultski in the sixth. Dominique Halik followed with another fielder's choice to make it 3-2 and set the stage for Parente.

"That's a perfect example of what we've been through this year," coach Joe Lores said of Parente's injury. "Things are a little harder, but we still come through. We find a way to pick ourselves up when our back is against the wall."

Or when your finger is in a splint.

Plainedge forces Game 3. Taylor Curran (three RBIs) and Gabriella Vertuccio (two RBIs) led No. 1 Plainedge over No. 2 Island Trees, 12-5, in Game 2 of the Class A county championship series. Game 3 is at 4 p.m. Thursday.

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