Bay Shore's Amber Fogarty (left) and Kelsey Fischer celebrate following...

Bay Shore's Amber Fogarty (left) and Kelsey Fischer celebrate following Saturday's Class AA championship final at the NYSPHSAA Softball Championships played at Waterloo High School, 6/12/10. Bay Shore claimed the state title with a 4-0 win over Cicero-North Syracuse. Credit: Photo by Adrian Kraus

The simple answer to how Bay Shore won its first state title since 2005 and seventh overall is that the Marauders scored 291 runs and allowed just 23. They hit and pitched extremely well, took advantage of other teams' mistakes and didn't make many of their own. Case closed.

But if the question isn't "how" but "why" they won, well then the answer gets a whole lot more difficult.

One reason could be the messages that motivated Bay Shore to hit .431 as a team and have an OPS of .992.

"Before each game, I give a quote to the captains, and they circle up and talk about it," Bay Shore coach Jim McGowan said. "It's been part of who we are for 20 years now."

After losing their only game of the year, 3-2, to Whitman in Game 1 of the Suffolk finals, the message was "rediscover the swagger." They did, winning the series, the Long Island championship and the state semifinal. Before the state title game, the quote was, "If you want to win everything, you've got to be willing to lose everything."

"I think our team is very tenacious," McGowan said. "This was a team that didn't just have a dominant player or two, we had contributions one through nine."

That's no hyperbole. Every player with at least 30 at-bats hit better than .350. The pitching duo of Liz Weber and Taylor McGowan was nearly unstoppable, allowing only 13 earned runs.

But aside from the messages, centerfielder Cat Franzone puts her stock in superstition.

"If I don't have a good at-bat, I'll hit second base with my right foot instead of my left foot as I'm jogging in," she said. "If I have a bad game, I'll switch feet. I never step on the lines. I always do the one-out, two-out signs with Liz. Even if she's not looking."

But having that many superstitions, you're bound to forget one every now and then. It just so happened that one time was also Bay Shore's one loss.

"We were really off with our superstitions," Franzone said of the loss to Whitman. "Liz usually draws a heart on her hand, but she didn't do it. People didn't wear the right undershirts or put their uniform on the right way. From then on, we made it perfect. We knew we had to stick to it."

With the state title secure, the superstitions take a break. The quotes don't flow as steadily to the printer. And when they do pick back up, it will be a slightly different group touching second base with their right foot after a bad at-bat.

Weber, Franzone and No. 3 hitter Kelsey Fischer are off to college. But McGowan isn't worrying about repeating.

"They're great kids, they work so hard, they meant so much to the program," he said. "Fischer is a five-year player, Weber, I think, is the most dominant two-way player on Long Island, and Franzone had a monster year. They're gonna be hard to replace, but every single year we replace great kids. I think that's a sign of a great program.

"Good teams happen every once in awhile, but great programs prevail."

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