In just a few moments, gone was the perfect game. Gone was the no-hitter. Gone was the shutout. The only thing left for Bay Shore to preserve in the seventh inning with one out, a Whitman runner on first and a one-run lead was the win.
But with one crack of pitcher Christine Lucido's bat, that, too, was gone.
Lucido hammered a pitch to deep leftfield that rolled all the way to the infield dirt of the Bay Shore junior varsity softball field, and by the time it was recovered she had crossed home plate as the go-ahead run in No. 6 Whitman's 3-2 win over No. 1 Bay Shore in Game 1 of the Suffolk Class AA final.
Game 2 of the best-of-three series will be at 4 p.m. on Tuesday at Whitman.
"I know that Bay Shore plays a deep outfield, so it was just a matter of is it going to get caught," coach Dave Rivera said of Lucido's shot. "I think the wind helped us out a little bit. It caused that ball to move a little bit and turned the outfielder around, and after that it was off to the races."
Lucido struck out 11 and gave up four hits, a walk and a hit-by-pitch for the Wildcats (17-5), who played two close contests with Bay Shore in the regular season, losing 2-0 and 4-2. Liz Weber struck out 12 and allowed just two hits and a walk for Bay Shore, which lost for the first time in 23 games this season.
Weber took a perfect game into the seventh inning but allowed a leadoff walk to Maria Pezzino, who promptly stole second and third, and scored on a throwing error. With one-out, Lauren Alexander hit a ground ball just right of first base. Taylor McGowan smothered the ball with a diving play, but was unable to throw out Alexander, setting up Lucido's go-ahead homer.
"It's something that we talk about all year, never giving up," Rivera said. "Christine is always keeping us in games, so we always have that shot."
But for as good as Lucido was the first five innings, allowing just one hit, the vaunted Bay Shore offense that scored 239 runs this season finally broke through in the sixth.
Weber fisted a pitch into centerfield for a one-out single, stole second and scored on a Courtney Syrett double just over the rightfielder's outstretched arm. Cat Franzone's two-out double drove home Syrett to give Bay Shore a 2-0 lead.
"I just had to remain relaxed and keep my team in it," Lucido said. "If I show any emotion it could affect the other players.
" It was just confidence. I felt strong the whole game, I had no doubt in my team that we would pull through and win."
One game down and on to the next one.