Giana Panariello knew East Meadow's Lindsay McKillop was a great pitcher. She knew the repertoire. Knew the off-speed breaking balls and spins she'd be up against in a scoreless game with two outs and Cat Franzone standing on third base in the fifth inning. "You gotta go up there thinking you're going to hit your first strike," the freshman said. "You have to think you're going to get a hit. You just have to."
Panariello, seventh in the batting order, lined a single to center that scored Franzone with the only offense Bay Shore (25-1) needed in a 1-0 win over East Meadow in the Class AA Long Island championship at Mitchel Athletic Complex. It is the 10th Long Island championship for the Marauders, who next play in the semifinals of the state tournament at Waterloo High School at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Liz Weber gave up five hits and two walks, striking out four in the shutout. She allowed the leadoff batter to reach and pitched with a runner in scoring position in six of the seven innings.
"I think with runners on base I have to be more focused on hitting my spots," Weber said. "Keep them to ground balls and pop flies."
In the seventh, a leadoff walk, groundout and wild pitch put Nikki Giocastro on third with one out. But Weber struck out Rachel Sidney and got Danielle Cutuli to ground back to the mound to secure the win.
"The batter had gotten on almost every time during the game, so I knew I was keeping it away from her," Weber said of Sidney, who was 1-for-2 with a walk. "I was either walking her or striking her out. I wasn't going to let her touch it."
Aside from the Marauders scratching out a run in the fifth, McKillop was dominant for the Jets (18-2), allowing just four hits - the first of which came in the fourth inning - walking none and striking out seven.
"She was amazing," Panariello said. "And we're one of the better hitting teams, I like to think, and she just shut us down like no problem. Except for that one inning."
And that was all Bay Shore needed.