After two disheartening plays in extra innings, East Islip’s Allison Dell’Orto did what was needed to keep the game from going into a 13th inning.
Her two-run single in the top of the 12th plated the go-ahead run, giving the No. 7 Redman an 8-6 lead in its 12-7 upset over top-seeded Eastport-South Manor Friday in a Suffolk Class AA softball loser’s bracket elimination game.
“She’s a stud,” coach Jason McGowan said of Dell’Orto. “She’s a 14-year-old kid batting second in the order for a reason. For such a young kid, she just steps up.”
That wasn’t the first time Dell’Orto, a freshman, was put on the spot. In both the ninth and 11th innings, Eastport-South Manor (21-4) hit balls down the rightfield line that were ruled fair. Those hits, both of which resulted in triples, tied the score and forced another inning.
Dell’Orto made diving attempts on both drives down the line, but each time she came up short. So when all eyes focused on her again at the plate in the 12th, she capitalized.
“It’s just the game,” she said. “We’ve played in these situations. You have to keep your head high and try to win.”
East Islip initially took a 4-3 lead in the ninth inning when Katie Burk singled to score Ashley Benvengo, who had reached on an error in the infield. But ESM answered with Kailah Konkel’s triple down the line in the bottom of the frame.
Still tied at 4 in the 11th, Jackie Carty began the inning on second for East Islip because of the international tiebreaker rule, which began in the 10th. A groundout by pitcher Courtney Greene advanced Carty to third. She then scored on a safety squeeze by Benvengo.
East Islip (20-7) led 6-4 into the bottom of the 11th, when Marissa Rizzi’s triple to right tied the score. The Redmen finally exploded for six runs in the top of the 12th, thanks in part to Dell’Orto’s rip to centerfield.
“We never gave up,” said Greene, who threw all 12 innings. “We had a couple bad calls here and there, but we just never gave up. I’m just so proud of them.”
McGowan said there was “no way” he would have protested the game had his team lost, even though both close calls weren’t made in his team’s favor.
East Islip will play at No. 2 Commack at noon on Saturday in the Suffolk Class AA final.