The Bay Shore softball team celebrates its 5-0 victory over...

The Bay Shore softball team celebrates its 5-0 victory over Whitman in Game 3 of the Suffolk Class AA finals. (June 3, 2010) Credit: George A. Faella

Perfection was the ammunition. Both the drive for it, and the vow to never face it again.

Bay Shore's 2009 season ended in Game 2 of the Suffolk Class AA finals, getting a perfect game pitched against it by eventual state champ Brentwood. For a team with as rich a winning tradition as the Marauders, that just wasn't acceptable.

"Man, I wish I could go back so bad," centerfielder Cat Franzone said. "I felt so horrible, and from that day on, we all had it in our mind to never have that feeling again."

The process of moving forward began each day at 5:45 in the morning when the Bay Shore girls would gather for a practice that had transformed into almost a total hitting clinic. They would do tee work, front toss, small-ball drills, hand-eye coordination, low pitches, high pitches.

"We worked on outside pitches that were so outside, they would be a ball," said third baseman Kelsey Fischer, who batted .400 with 22 RBIs. "But knowing that we could hit them in case they were called in a game made a difference."

Bay Shore (24-1) beat Whitman, 2-0, on March 25, and then scored double digit runs in the next five games. In 25 games, the Marauders put up double-digit totals 16 times.

They've scored 255 runs so far, averaging 10.2 per game. The second highest runs scored total in Suffolk Class AA was Commack with 181. The second highest runs per game was East Islip with 8.52. Bay Shore is hitting .460 and has more walks (97) than strikeouts (85).

"We're tough one-through-nine," coach Jim McGowan said. "It's not like when the No. 6 batter gets up it's like, 'Oh my God, we've got three automatic outs.' Not at all. I've got confidence in every single kid."

Said Franzone: "Each girl contributes something different, we have speed, we have power, we have both, we have alleys. We can do it all."

Helping the cause was that pitchers Liz Weber and Taylor McGowan allowed just 22 runs. They shut out opponents 14 times, holding them to two or less runs 22 times. The theme seemed to be: we don't have to score runs. But we sure can.

"Having our pitchers on this entire year has really eased the pressure off our hitters," said Franzone, who hit .553 with 40 runs scored and six home runs.

Plus, Weber, the leadoff hitter, and McGowan, the No. 5 batter, can both hit.

"The bottom of the order is very fast," said Weber, who scored a team-high 41 runs, hit .582 and is tied with Franzone for the team lead in RBIs with 39. "They're the spunky kids on the team and they really step it up and get on the bag for us."

And the trip from the circle to the plate can also be beneficial.

"Being a pitcher you have an advantage because you know exactly where the umpire's strike zone is," Weber said.

Not that either hurler made many mistakes in the circle this year, but each showed the ability to not carry the occasional pitching failure into the batters box.

"I'm a really positive person," said McGowan, who hit .419 with 35 RBIs. "I keep thinking that I'll get up again, and if I screw up once, I'm going to have another opportunity."

The next opportunity for the team comes on Tuesday at 4 p.m. against East Meadow in the Long Island Championship at the Mitchel Athletic Complex.

And if perfection was the ammunition, the Marauders should still have a few bullets left.

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